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Two questions.

The government has considerably curtailed its efforts in/of/at protecting the unemployed.

  1. Which would be the right preposition here?
  2. Background: The government (i) reduced the amount ($) of benefits and (ii) the duration of the benefits (weeks). Also, (iii) made eligibility rules stringent- this made it hard for workers to qualify for benefits. The appropriate verb would be Curtail which means reduce in extent or quantity; impose a restriction on. But is "efforts" the right noun? What is a better term to express the government's three actions instead of "efforts"?
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Expanding on the answer provided by TechnoCat, you may rewrite the sentence:

  1. The government has considerably curtailed its efforts that were being (or had been) made to protect the unemployed.
  2. The government has considerably curtailed its efforts to protect the unemployed (reduced form).
  3. The government has considerably curtailed its efforts that worked towards protecting the unemployed
  4. The government has considerably curtailed its efforts that protected the unemployed

Effort as a noun is generally followed by preposition 'to' and 'verb'.

You can check many examples here.

Preposition 'of' is used for possessive purpose. For example, Efforts 'of' the government (or people/organization) to protect the unemployed were inadequate.

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The better phrase would be "curtailed its efforts TO PROTECT the unemployed".

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