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Cash, food, or vouchers? Evidence from a randomized experiment in northern Ecuador

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  • Hidrobo, Melissa
  • Hoddinott, John
  • Peterman, Amber
  • Margolies, Amy
  • Moreira, Vanessa

Abstract

The debate over whether to provide food-assistance and the form that this assistance should take has a long history in economics. Despite the ongoing debate, little rigorous evidence exists that compares food-assistance in the form of cash versus in-kind. This paper uses a randomized evaluation to assess the impacts and cost-effectiveness of cash, food vouchers, and food transfers. We find that all three modalities significantly improve the quantity and quality of food consumed. However, differences emerge in the types of food consumed with food transfers leading to significantly larger increases in calories consumed and vouchers leading to significantly larger increases in dietary-diversity.

Suggested Citation

  • Hidrobo, Melissa & Hoddinott, John & Peterman, Amber & Margolies, Amy & Moreira, Vanessa, 2014. "Cash, food, or vouchers? Evidence from a randomized experiment in northern Ecuador," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 144-156.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:107:y:2014:i:c:p:144-156
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2013.11.009
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Food assistance; Cash and in-kind transfers; Food security;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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