Cash transfers: lump sums

Briefing papers
November 2009

ODI has carried out a review of the performance of lump sum cash transfers, as part of a wider, three-year study on cash transfers funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation.

Lump sums were found to perform better in post-emergency than development contexts, especially where beneficiaries were familiar with the assets that had to be replaced (fishing boats, livestock etc) and markets continued to function. In development contexts, appropriate complementary measures, such as the provision of land in housing projects and of small, time-bound stipends and veterinary services in livestock projects, resulted in moderate success. Phased, conditional payments were time-consuming but generally effective. Without these complementary actions, lump sums are more akin to investment funds than social transfers, tend to favour men over women, and allow those who invest early to take a lion’s share of market opportunities.

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