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In the Form of Bread? A Randomized Comparison of Cash and Food Transfers in Yemen

Benjamin Schwab

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2020, vol. 102, issue 1, 91-113

Abstract: Debate over the implementation of food assistance programs and the role of in‐kind food aid has intensified in recent years. Within that context, we study a randomized control trial of rural communities in Yemen. From 2011 to 2012, poor households in half of the communities received assistance in the form of in‐kind food (wheat flour and oil), and households in the other half received an equal valued cash transfer. On average, those that received cash exhibited greater dietary diversity, with differences driven largely by increases in consumption of protein‐rich foods like meat and fish. However, food households consumed, on average, approximately 150 more calories per person per day than cash recipients, due largely to higher wheat flour and oil consumption. Modality type did not significantly affect non‐food consumption, including usage of qat, a mildly narcotic leaf consumed widely in Yemen, and cash cost less to deliver than food.

Date: 2020
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