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Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Rayah Al-Farah, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Mr. Atif Chaudry, Moataz El-Said, Fozan Fareed, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Nghia-Piotr Le, Mr. Franto Ricka, Mr. Cesar Serra, Tetyana Sydorenko, Mr. Sébastien Walker, and Mr. Mohammed Zaher
This paper examines the role of social spending in improving socioeconomic outcomes in the Middle East and Central Asia. In particular, it addresses the following questions: (1) how large is social spending across the region? (2) how do countries in the region fare on socioeconomic outcomes? (3) how important is social spending as a determinant of these outcomes? and (4) how efficient is social spending in the region?
Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Rayah Al-Farah, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Mr. Atif Chaudry, Moataz El-Said, Fozan Fareed, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Nghia-Piotr Le, Mr. Franto Ricka, Mr. Cesar Serra, Tetyana Sydorenko, Mr. Sébastien Walker, and Mr. Mohammed Zaher

across countries ( Table 1 ). An important part of the response was to support health care spending, and at least half of the countries in the region announced plans for targeted support to lower-income and vulnerable households and informal workers. 4 IMF emergency financing operations helped many countries in the region to achieve these goals. Some countries (Egypt) also increased education spending. Most of the social protection assistance is directed through cash transfer programs, and many countries have made effective use of technology in delivering these

Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Rayah Al-Farah, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Mr. Atif Chaudry, Moataz El-Said, Fozan Fareed, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Nghia-Piotr Le, Mr. Franto Ricka, Mr. Cesar Serra, Tetyana Sydorenko, Mr. Sébastien Walker, and Mr. Mohammed Zaher

-targeted social protection tool) and its Etimad program is trying to improve efficiency and inclusiveness of social spending. 6 IMF emergency financing operations have helped to support outlays on health and social protection in a dozen countries in the region. 1 In the interest of parsimony, only the results with the control of corruption are shown in Annex 3 . 1 This is in terms of output efficiency. In terms of input efficiency, a country is deemed more (less) efficient to the extent that it spends less (more) than other countries for a given outcome level