Led by Craig McIntosh and Andy Zeitlin, in partnership with USAID and GiveDirectly, this project rigorously evaluates the impact of unconditional cash transfers in Rwanda compared to a USAID-funded vocational training and employment program targeting vulnerable teenagers. The study is using a randomized evaluation (RCT) design to examine the cost-effectiveness of changes/improvements in stable employment and income among vulnerable youth as a result of this employment training program, and how the training program compares to the effectiveness of unconditional cash transfers disbursed by GiveDirectly on the same outcomes.
In September, 2020, midline results for the study were released showing significant improvements in work hours, productive assets, savings, and subjective well-being from the workforce readiness program, but significantly larger benefits across all outcomes from beneficiaries receiving cash transfers. In particular, smaller cash transfers of USD 400 proved particularly cost-effective. The study design, which varies transfer amounts and looks at the combined effects of cash transfers and the workforce readiness program, allows for particularly nuanced insights about the tradeoffs faced by policy-makers considering investments in these kinds of interventions.
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