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How cash transfers program affects environmental poverty among ultra-poor? Insights from the BISP in Pakistan

Saima Nawaz and Nasir Iqbal ()

Energy Policy, 2021, vol. 148, issue PB

Abstract: This paper evaluates the effects of cash transfers program, that is, the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) on environmental poverty using household data. A multidimensional environmental poverty index (EPI), based on four dimensions of environmental services, namely, dwelling, water, sanitation, and energy, is developed using the Alkire-Foster method. EPI shows that about 57% of households face multidimensional environmental poverty in the sample group. Our empirical analysis, based on regression discontinuity design, indicates that BISP cash transfers have a negative and significant impact on environmental poverty. This empirical evidence implies that cash transfers increase the use of environmental services among BISP beneficiaries. The effects of cash transfers on environmental poverty vary from one province to another, which emphasizes the importance of regional differences and heterogeneities. The impacts of BISP cash transfers on various dimensions of environmental poverty, such as dwelling, water, sanitation, and energy, also differ across provinces. The government should expand social protection programs to overcome environmental poverty with a focus on the use of environmental services. However, any efforts to reduce environmental poverty through cash transfers may depend on household preferences and availability of environmental services.

Keywords: Cash transfers; Environmental poverty; Regression discontinuity design; BISP; Pakistan (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2020.111978

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