Can unconditional cash transfers raise long-term living standards? Evidence from Zambia

Citation data:

Journal of Development Economics, ISSN: 0304-3878

Publication Year:
2018
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DOI:
10.1016/j.jdeveco.2018.01.008
Author(s):
Sudhanshu Handa; Luisa Natali; David Seidenfeld; Gelson Tembo; Benjamin Davis
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article description
In Africa, state-sponsored cash transfer programs now reach nearly 50 million people. Do these programs raise long-term living standards? We examine this question using experimental data from two unconditional cash transfer programs implemented by the Zambian Government. We find far-reaching effects of the programs both on food security and consumption as well as on a range of productive outcomes. After three years, household spending is on average 67 percent larger than the value of the transfer received, implying a sizeable multiplier effect, which works through increased non-farm activity and agricultural production.