A new report released by the International Trade Union Confederation demonstrates that increased investment in social protection yields positive economic returns.
The study, Investments In Social Protection And Their Impacts On Economic Growth, was conducted by Development Pathways on behalf of the International Trade Union Confederation, with financial support from Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the ILO Bureau for Workers Activities. It focuses on eight countries across four continents: Bangladesh, Colombia, Costa Rica, Georgia, Ghana, India, Rwanda, and Serbia.
The report highlights that social protection is not only an investment in people, but also an investment in the broader economy. It shows that an increase in public spending on social protection boosts economic growth, increases productivity and overall employment, increases tax revenues, reduces poverty and inequality, and helps reduce barriers to women entering or returning to work.
Overall, the study concludes that an additional investment equivalent to 1 per cent of GDP in social protection could boost economic growth by 0.7 to 1.9 per cent in the eight countries. This means that the economic benefits of social spending can at least partially, or completely, offset the initial investment.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “The time has come to extend social protection to the half of the world’s people who have none and to the almost 20% who only have only partial coverage. Many governments are finally having to recognise the urgency of social protection – including unemployment protection for people who have lost their livelihoods, paid sickness benefits and access to healthcare.”
The ITUC is calling for urgent action to create a Global Social Protection Fund to support the poorest countries in a worldwide effort to make social protection universal. The moral imperative of global solidarity to support the most vulnerable is evident, and what is good for people is good for the economy and this report underlines that.