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Cash Transfers: What Does the Evidence Say? A Rigorous Review of Programme Impact and of the Role of Design and Implementation Features

29 July 2016 — By Francesca Bastagli, Jessica Hagen-Zanker, Luke Harman, Valentina Barca, Georgina Sturge and Tanja Schmidt, with Luca Pellerano

Cash transfers have been increasingly adopted by countries worldwide as central elements of their social protection and poverty reduction strategies. A growing number of studies provide rigorous evidence on the impact of cash transfers, and the role of specific cash transfer design and implementation features in shaping outcomes.

This rigorous review of the impact of cash transfers is the largest and most comprehensive review of its kind to date. It consolidates and assesses the body of evidence from 2000 to 2015, covering low- and middle-income countries worldwide, to provide policy-makers, practitioners and researchers with a single resource on the most rigorous and up-to-date evidence available.

The review covers the intended and unintended impact on individuals and households of non-contributory cash transfer programmes on six outcome areas:

  1. Monetary poverty
  2. Education
  3. Health and nutrition
  4. Savings, investment and production
  5. Employment
  6. Empowerment

It pays particular attention to the links between variations in cash transfer design and implementation details (e.g. transfer value, targeting mechanism, conditionality) and outcomes.

Additional Resources:

  1. Annexes to the Report
  2. Annotated Bibliography
  3. Briefing Paper