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New study shows benefits, limits of cash transfers

News | Oct 22 2020

A study released Thursday has helped build evidence around the idea of cash benchmarking. Photo by: Brooke Patterson / USAID / CC BY-ND

CEGA affiliated researcher, Craig McIntosh’s, and Andrew Zeitlin’s recent study benchmarking a workforce training program against unconditional cash transfers is highlighted by Vox:

WASHINGTON — Cash transfers to young people in Rwanda were more effective than a job training program in helping them build assets, increase savings, and improve productivity, according to a new study released Thursday. This latest research adds to the small but growing body of knowledge about cash benchmarking, or using the impact of cash as a baseline for program evaluation.

This latest research compared the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Huguka Dukore/Akazi Kanoze program, which aims to provide vulnerable youths in Rwanda with employability skills, with cash transfers of various sizes. The study, commissioned by USAID and carried out by independent researchers, is the midpoint evaluation of the impact, conducted 18 months after the baseline study. Final results will be released after another evaluation at the 36-month mark.

Livelihood programs have a mixed track record and attract large amounts of funding globally, which made it “ripe for thinking about if it is done cost-effectively or not,” said Andrew Zeitlin, an assistant professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and one of the lead researchers. A 2015 paper cited in the study estimated that the World Bank alone spends nearly $1 billion per year on skills-training programs.

Source: A new study shows benefits, limits of cash transfers – Devex


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