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Cash transfers and high food prices: Explaining outcomes on Ethiopia's Productive Safety Net Programme

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  • Sabates-Wheeler, Rachel
  • Devereux, Stephen

Abstract

An ongoing and highly politicised debate concerns the relative efficacy of cash transfers versus food aid. This paper aims to shed light on this debate, drawing on new empirical evidence from Ethiopia's Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP). Our data derive from a two-wave panel survey conducted in 2006 and 2008. Ethiopia has experienced unprecedented rates of inflation since 2007, which have reduced the real purchasing power of PSNP cash payments. Our regression findings confirm that food transfers or 'cash plus food' packages are superior to cash transfers alone - they enable higher levels of income growth, livestock accumulation and self-reported food security. These results raise questions of fundamental importance to global humanitarian response and social protection policy. We draw out some implications for the design of social transfer programmes and describe some steps that could be taken to enable 'predictable transfers to meet predictable needs'.

Suggested Citation

  • Sabates-Wheeler, Rachel & Devereux, Stephen, 2010. "Cash transfers and high food prices: Explaining outcomes on Ethiopia's Productive Safety Net Programme," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 274-285, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:35:y:2010:i:4:p:274-285
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Emebet Kebede, 2006. "Moving from Emergency Food Aid to Predictable Cash Transfers: Recent Experience in Ethiopia," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 24(5), pages 579-599, September.
    2. Stefan Tangermann, 2008. "Agricultural Commodity Prices: Perspectives and Policies," EuroChoices, The Agricultural Economics Society, vol. 7(SpecialIs), pages 36-43, August.
    3. Benson, Todd & Minot, Nicholas & Pender, John & Robles, Miguel & von Braun, Joachim, 2008. "Global food crises: Monitoring and assessing impact to inform policy responses," Food policy reports 19, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Ayele Gelan, 2006. "Cash or Food Aid? A General Equilibrium Analysis for Ethiopia," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 24(5), pages 601-624, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Stoeffler, Quentin & Mills, Bradford, 2014. "Households’ investments in durable and productive assets in Niger: quasi-experimental evidences from a cash transfer project," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170212, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. d'Agostino, Giorgio & Pieroni, Luca & Scarlato, Margherita, 2013. "Social Protection and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Evaluation of Cash Transfer Programmes," MPRA Paper 49536, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Aregawi G. Gebremariam & Elisabetta Lodigiani & Giacomo Pasini, 2017. "The impact of Ethiopian Productive Safety-net Program on children’s educational aspirations," Working Papers 2017:26, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    4. Ferrière, Nathalie & Suwa-Eisenmann, Akiko, 2015. "Does Food Aid Disrupt Local Food Market? Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 114-131.
    5. Fujii, Tomoki, 2013. "Impact of food inflation on poverty in the Philippines," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 13-27.
    6. Gentilini, Ugo & Omamo, Steven Were, 2011. "Social protection 2.0: Exploring issues, evidence and debates in a globalizing world," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 329-340, June.
    7. Rawlins, Rosemary & Pimkina, Svetlana & Barrett, Christopher B. & Pedersen, Sarah & Wydick, Bruce, 2014. "Got milk? The impact of Heifer International’s livestock donation programs in Rwanda on nutritional outcomes," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 202-213.
    8. Debela, Bethelhem Legesse & Holden , Stein, 2014. "How Does Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program Affect Livestock Accumulation and Children’s Education?," CLTS Working Papers 8/14, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.
    9. Bethelhem Debela & Gerald Shively & Stein Holden, 2015. "Does Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program improve child nutrition?," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 7(6), pages 1273-1289, December.
    10. Devereux, Stephen, 2016. "Social protection for enhanced food security in sub-Saharan Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 52-62.
    11. Matthias Kalkuhl & Mekbib Haile & Lukas Kornher & Marta Kozicka, 2015. "Cost-benefit framework for policy action to navigate food price spikes. FOODSECURE Working Paper No 33," FOODSECURE Working papers 33, LEI Wageningen UR.
    12. Khera, Reetika, 2014. "Cash vs. in-kind transfers: Indian data meets theory," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 116-128.
    13. World Bank, 2012. "Using Public Food Grain Stocks to Enhance Food Security," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11878, The World Bank.
    14. Araya, Girma Behe & Holden , Stein T., 2017. "Is Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program Enhancing Dependency?," CLTS Working Papers 5/17, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.
    15. Anderson, Kym & Thennakoon, Jayanthi, 2015. "Food Prices Spikes and Poor, Small Economies: What Role for Trade Policies," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 10(1), March.
    16. Headey, Derek D. & Bachewe, Fantu Nisrane & Worku, Ibrahim & Dereje, Mekdim & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum, 2012. "Urban wage behavior and food price inflation: the case of Ethiopia [Working Paper]:," ESSP working papers 41, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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