Cash transfers

January 2007 to December 2009

Evidence on how cash transfers can reduce poverty has made them the new hot topic in both development and relief circles. Some development agencies have gone so far as to make them the central plank of their social protection strategies.

However, cash transfers are far from a panacea, and new research at ODI drawing on a number of country case studies will examine questions of affordability and sustainabililty, administrative capacity, targeting and conditionality, preconditions and sequences, and the role of cash transfers in progressions from relief to development contexts.

Notable successes have been achieved by targeted and conditional cash transfers in Latin America, which have helped not only in raising and smoothing consumption but also in longer term investments in human capital.

But they raise as many questions as answers: can the kinds of conditionality found in Latin America be adapted to countries having much weaker delivery mechanisms? How far can cash transfers substitute for transfers in kind, and how far do these have to complement each other?

These and other questions drive the new ODI research programme. Working closely with national partners in the collection and analysis of new field evidence from Africa and from Asia, this programme will ask how and how far the design of cash transfer programmes there will have to differ from those in Latin America, and what different outcomes might be expected.

A particular strength of the programme is that it will bring together perspectives from development and humanitarian experience. The programme is funded by a small consortium of interested bilateral donors, and ODI will be working closely with them to explore how approaches to cash transfers can be best harmonised across humanitarian and development departments within their own organisations.


Cash transfers in post-conflict contexts

Briefing papers | November 2009 | Rebecca Holmes

This Project Briefing draws on emerging evidence on the experience of cash transfers in fragile and post-conflict states, and highlights examples from case studies in Sierra Leone and Nepal.


Cash transfers: graduation and growth

Briefing papers | November 2009 | Rachel Slater

This paper reviews expectations of graduation out of poverty and growth at both local and national levels as part of a three-year study on cash transfers.


Cash transfers: lump sums

Briefing papers | November 2009 | John Farrington

This paper reviews the performance of lump sum cash transfers, as part of a three-year study by ODI and SDC.


Cash Transfers in post-conflict Nepal

Research reports and studies | August 2009 | Rebecca Holmes and Shizu Uphadya

As Nepal moves towards a post-conflict and democratic society, one based on inclusion and economic growth, social protection is taking on an increasingly important role.