JDR Vol.11 No.5 pp. 926-934
doi: 10.20965/jdr.2016.p0926


Targeting Vulnerable People with a Social Safety Net: Lessons from the CFW Program for the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster

Shingo Nagamatsu

Faculty of Societal Safety Science, Kansai University
7-1 Hakubaicho, Takatsukishi, Osaka 569-1098, Japan

April 6, 2016
July 26, 2016
Online released:
October 3, 2016
October 1, 2016
social safety net (SNN), public works (PW), cash for work (CFW), self-targeting, livelihood recovery
The Emergency Job Creation (EJC) program in which unemployed people are hired for recovery works funded by the government was introduced after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan. The program is very similar to Cash for Work (CFW) programs that are often implemented as social safety nets (SSNs). This paper evaluates how the EJC program targeted those most in need. From four projects, 938 participants were sampled and simple selection bias tests were conducted among job applicants in the region where the project was undertaken. Participants of the EJC program included more single females and irregular workers than the population group, thus demonstrating the EJC’s self-targeting function. Around 80% of participants were without dependent family members implying that there are two types of potential participants: those who prefer limited responsibilities with relatively low wages, and those who prefer a larger burden of responsibility with relatively higher wages. Because the wages provided by the EJC program may be high enough for the former, but too low for the latter, the program eventually excluded the second group. Similar programs in future should provide other types of jobs corresponding to people’s preferences. Previously unemployed participants were likely to be those who lost their houses; that damage had pushed them into the labor market. Because of the relatively minor existing SSN for housing damage, the EJC program served as an important safety net for disaster-affected people without a private safety net such as insurance.
Cite this article as:
S. Nagamatsu, “Targeting Vulnerable People with a Social Safety Net: Lessons from the CFW Program for the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.11 No.5, pp. 926-934, 2016.
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