EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

The Short-term Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers to the Poor: ExperimentalEvidence from Kenya

Johannes Haushofer () and Jeremy Shapiro

The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2016, vol. 131, issue 4, 1973-2042

Abstract: We use a randomized controlled trial to study the response of poor households in rural Kenya to unconditional cash transfers from the NGO GiveDirectly. The transfers differ from other programs in that they are explicitly unconditional, large, and concentrated in time. We randomized at both the village and household levels; furthermore, within the treatment group, we randomized recipient gender (wife versus husband), transfer timing (lump-sum transfer versus monthly installments), and transfer magnitude (US$404 PPP versus US$1,525 PPP). We find a strong consumption response to transfers, with an increase in household monthly consumption from $158 PPP to $193 PPP nine months after the transfer began. Transfer recipients experience large increases in psychological well-being. We find no overall effect on levels of the stress hormone cortisol, although there are differences across some subgroups. Monthly transfers are more likely than lump-sum transfers to improve food security, whereas lump-sum transfers are more likely to be spent on durables, suggesting that households face savings and credit constraints. Together, these results suggest that unconditional cash transfers have significant impacts on economic outcomes and psychological well-being.

Date: 2016
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (147) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjw025 (application/pdf)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:131:y:2016:i:4:p:1973-2042.

Access Statistics for this article

The Quarterly Journal of Economics is currently edited by Robert J. Barro, Elhanan Helpman, Lawrence F. Katz and Andrei Schleifer

More articles in The Quarterly Journal of Economics from Oxford University Press
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Oxford University Press () and Christopher F. Baum ().

 
Page updated 2022-01-15
Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:131:y:2016:i:4:p:1973-2042.