Fossil fuel subsidies reform has been intensively debated and promoted as a concrete step towards sustainable development, with anticipated benefits of reduced carbon emissions, saved public spending, and improved social distribution. But does this “triple-win” policy deliver what it promises? This working paper focuses on the social “win”—the narrative of social and distributional gains of the energy subsidies reform. The research follows a comparative analysis approach. Three countries were selected as target for in-depth case studies based on their diverse political, economic and social contexts: Ghana, Indonesia and Iran. We examine in each case the distributional effects of subsidy removal, the design and implementation of social programmes and their impact on welfare, as well as the political economy around sustainability of the reform. Based on comparative studies across the three cases, a set of political, economic and social factors are identified to have key impact on the social outcome of reforms. The key conclusions are as follows.