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Funded by: Mastercard Foundation

Duration: June 2021- present

Researchers: Prof. Nana Akua Anyidoho and Prof. Akosua Darkwah

Description: Women in Ghana have a long history of participation in the economy as workers and owners of enterprises. Therefore, the nature of Ghanaian women’s work, including the extent to which it is empowering, has long been of interest to researchers. With the increasing digitization of work, and more so in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, questions about the content and impact of women’s work have gained more urgency. These questions underpin a study on young women’s experiences of platform work in Ghana,  in partnership with Caribou Digital and with financial support from the Mastercard Foundation.

Findings: to be updated


"Researching gender and platform livelihoods in Ghana" -- Akosua Darkwah & Nana Akua Anyidoho

"How can we make platform livelihoods better for young women, especially during and after covid-19"



Funded by: UNICEF

Duration: February 2020 – August 2020

Researchers: Dr. Charles Ackah; Dr. Kwadwo Opoku; Stephen Kwadwo Antwi

Objective: Since Ghana embarked on reforms to improve the public financial management (PFM) system, especially in the country’s budget system, various governments have struggled to implement budget to plan. This has often resulted in expenditure overruns and reallocations of budgeted expenditure among different budgeted components at variance with budgets. This study explored the credibility of Ghana’s budget towards attaining proposed fiscal outcomes with the aim of understanding areas of serious concern and providing specific recommendations to strengthen the credibility of budgets in Ghana.

Findings: The analysis of the study indicated positive deviations of aggregate expenditure outturn—government overspent its budgeted expenditure, measured by an average variance, by 8.7 per cent per year over the last decade. On the other hand, aggregate revenues experienced a shortfall of 23 per cent in 2018. The variances between budgeted aggregate revenue and aggregate revenue outturns are largely attributed to forecasting errors and possibly political overrides to the estimates provided by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), which is the central tax revenue agency. The study recommended the following:

  1. The Government of Ghana should strengthen PFM instruments and link medium-term policies to budgeting.
  2. The government should develop accurate revenue and expenditure forecasts based on realistic assumptions to minimise deviations.
  3. While deviations in forecast revenue and expenditure cannot be perfectly predicted, the government must be explicit about the extent of the deviation and explain why and how they happened to improve budget transparency and credibility.

Outcomes: Training Workshop to Budget Staff of Ministry of Finance

Funded by: UNICEF

Duration: February 2019 – October 2019

Researchers: Prof. Charles Ackah, Prof. Philip Duku-Osei, Dr. George Domfe, Dr. Aba Obrumah Crentsil, Dr. Kwadwo Opoku, Derek Asuman

Objective: Inclusive growth and improved standards of living for all Ghanaians can only be achieved through the equitable distribution of resources across the nation.  The transfer of funds from central to local governments through the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) is a key policy instrument meant to ensure equitable distribution of national resources across Ghana. However, inequities and disparities in the lives of residents of different parts of Ghana show that this goal is yet to be achieved. The study examined the key issues in the current DACF formula that result in the inequitable distribution of resources to Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

Findings: Three key issues were identified in the application of the DACF formula, namely: the absence of a poverty indicator that would transfer more resources to less resourced MMDAs, the unanticipated large effect of district-level population sizes on allocation of resources to MMDAs and the informal modification of MMDA allocations. To address these problems and ensure equitable distribution of resources to local governments in Ghana, this report proposes a new formula that takes district poverty levels into consideration, reduces the effective weight of the population factor in distributing resources through elimination of the population density factor and lessening the weight of the relative population size.

The recommended formula will be weighted 62/38 in terms of need versus the poverty indicator for distribution of the DACF among MMDAs, as it transfers a higher share of DACF to poorer districts and is therefore pro-poor compared to other alternative proposals. The study also recommended timely and appropriate disbursement of funding to ensure MMDAs receive sufficient resources to implement projects and programmes planned and delivered at local level. Finally, this study recommended changing the percentage of total revenue allocated to DACF from the minimum 5 percent to the previous 7.5 percent (applicable from 2008 to 2016) to improve the finances of MMDAs to ensure effective provision of services, infrastructure, and poverty reduction interventions.

Outcomes: Uptake of recommendations by UNICEF and Cabinet

Funded by: Office of Research, Innovation and Development (ORID), University of Ghana

Duration: March 2015 - February 2016

Research Team: Dr. George Domfe, Prof. Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey and Dr. Ralph Nii Armah

Description: The few empirical studies that exist on older persons in Ghana show that they are vulnerable to poverty and vulnerability, but it is unclear what combination of factors contribute to this situation.  The Centre for Social Policy Studies undertook a study to first understand and then to inform policy on the well-being of the elderly in Ghana. The main objective of the study was to identify factors that affect the general well-being of the older persons through an analysis of their livelihoods.

Findings: The study found that changes in household composition in the last two decades has had a negative impact on their well-being. In terms of livelihoods, it was found that the proportion of older persons involved in farming has declined over the years because of urbanization and changes in the methods of farming. Moreover, a considerable proportion of older persons were involved in community affairs, especially in the organisation rites of passage and festivals. T


  •  A workshop was held at the University of Ghana on 25th February 2016 to present the findings of the study to the members of academia, practitioners, researchers, students and invited older persons.
  •  A journal article ‘Household composition and well-being of older persons in Ghana’ has been accepted for publication in the Ghana Studies Journal.
  •  A technical paper, titled: ‘The changing trend of the living circumstances of older persons in Ghana’ is currently going through review processes to be published as a CSPS Technical Paper.
  • CSPS is currently putting together plans to undertake an exclusive national survey on older persons in Ghana.

Funded by: World Vision Ghana

Duration: July 2016 - December 2016

Researchers: Prof. Abena D. Oduro, Dr. Stephen Afranie, Dr. George Domfe, Dr. Antoinette Tsiboe-Darko, D. Ernestina Dankyi and Dr. Sylvia Djan

Description: Child marriage is nationally and internationally recognised as a violation of girls’ human rights and a hindrance to development. In Ghana it is estimated that about 25% of the girls aged between 20 and 24 years married before they were 18 years old. The main objectives of this research was to examine and document the prevalence and causes of child marriage; identify factors predicting vulnerability to child marriage; examine the impact of child marriage on the girls and women who were child brides (with a focus on issues of domestic violence and maternal health); examine the sexual and reproductive rights of child brides and their access to sexual and reproductive health services; identify and assess community-led actions to reduce child marriage; and evaluate the legal framework on child marriage.

Funded by: UNICEF Ghana

Duration: July 2016-October 2016

Researchers: Dr Stephen Afranie (PI); Dr George Domfe; Dr Antoinette Tsiboe-Darko; Dr Ernestina Dankyi

Objectives: UNICEF Ghana’s contributions to national efforts to reduce the threat of Ebola and cholera in Ghana included developing appropriate audio-visual communication materials for social mobilisers to carry out targeted activities for sustained change in the individual and community behaviour. One such material was a video-clip/song, ‘Wash Wana Hands’, featuring well-known Ghanaian artistes, as well as key prevention messages on cholera and Ebola focusing on hand washing. The Centre for Social Policy Studies was contracted to use a mixed method approach (combination of quantitative and qualitative methods) through triangulation design to investigate the impact of the media placement. The study assessed the impact of the media placement of the video clip and song “Wash Wana Hands” in the mass media to measure exposure, recall and behaviour adoption.

Outcomes: UNICEF shared the findings with the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Education Service and disseminated the findings internally within UNICEF to demonstrate the necessity implement a monitoring and evaluation system assessing impact of mass media placement.

Duration: 2022-present

Researchers: Prof. Nana Akua Anyidoho, Dr. Ernestina Dankyi, Dr Stephen Afranie and Dr. Doris Boateng

Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the limitations of Ghana’s strategies and systems to protect its citizens from shocks, especially the poor, women and other socio-economically disadvantaged groups. In this sense, the pandemic made more urgent the need to develop a more effective social protection shock response system that is inclusive and gender responsive. This study is, therefore, a contribution to the endeavor to review and recommend improvements to the Government of Ghana’s (GoG) social protection shock response systems and strategies. 

In the process of adapting existing systems to address the global pandemic, many lessons have been learned that can be applied to improving the effectiveness and inclusiveness of national structures to deal with future crises. This report documents and draw lessons from the government’s response to shocks and emergencies in order to develop a framework for shock adaptive social protection system that describes the roles of key actor and their interrelationships as well as the needed legislations, policies and other frameworks to support their work.