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Cash, Food, or Vouchers? Evidence from a randomized experiment in Northern Ecuador

December 2012 — By Melissa Hidrobo, John Hoddinott, Amber Peterman, Amy Margolies, Vanessa Moreira

The debate over whether to provide food assistance and the form that this assistance should take has a long history in economics. Despite the ongoing debate, little rigorous evidence exists that compares food assistance in the form of cash versus in-kind. This paper uses a randomized evaluation in Northern Ecuador to assess the impacts and cost-effectiveness of cash, food vouchers, and food transfers.