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Crowding-out or crowding-in? Effects of LEAP 1000 unconditional cash transfer program on household and community support among women in rural Ghana


  • de Milliano, Marlous
  • Barrington, Clare
  • Angeles, Gustavo
  • Gbedemah, Christiana


Social protection programs are not introduced in a vacuum and it is important to understand what effects such programs have on existing informal support networks of family, friends and community members. A social cash transfer may reduce receipt of informal financial support, which can water down part of the program’s impact. However, cash transfers can also reduce barriers to social participation and enable participants to engage in reciprocal support systems. We use data from the quasi-experimental mixed method impact evaluation of Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) 1000 program, a social cash transfer program for pregnant women and mothers of children under one year living in poverty, to estimate program effects on social support and participation. Using a difference-in-differences approach we find that LEAP 1000 increases overall social support, as well as both emotional and instrumental support. In addition, program beneficiaries are more likely to participate in community groups. In in-depth interviews, participants confirmed increased support with descriptions of improved access to financial markets, such as borrowing money or contributing to local savings schemes, and strengthening of social participation in local groups and gatherings. Beneficiary women also highlighted reduced need for economic support and new opportunities to support others.

Suggested Citation

  • de Milliano, Marlous & Barrington, Clare & Angeles, Gustavo & Gbedemah, Christiana, 2021. "Crowding-out or crowding-in? Effects of LEAP 1000 unconditional cash transfer program on household and community support among women in rural Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:143:y:2021:i:c:s0305750x21000784
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105466

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    1. David K Evans & Katrina Kosec, 2023. "Cash Transfers, Trust, and Inter-household Transfers: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank, vol. 37(2), pages 221-234.
    2. Ankush Goyal & Rajender Kumar, 2022. "Does Social Welfare Programmes Influence Households Trust in Local Administration and Their Political Participation? Evidence from the MGNREG Scheme in India," Indian Journal of Human Development, , vol. 16(3), pages 602-617, December.
    3. Keetie Roelen & Carmen Leon-Himmelstine & Sung Kyu Kim, 2022. "Chicken or Egg? A Bi-directional Analysis of Social Protection and Social Cohesion in Burundi and Haiti," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 34(3), pages 1216-1239, June.
    4. Puorideme, Dennis & Rolandsen Agustín, Lise, 2023. "The discursive construction of gender identities and roles for women in cash transfer programmes: Implications for gender power relations," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 29(C).
    5. de Groot, Richard & Yablonski, Jennifer & Valli, Elsa, 2022. "The impact of cash and health insurance on child nutrition during the first 1000 days: Evidence from Ghana," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 107(C).

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