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The impact of cash and food transfers: Evidence from a randomized intervention in Niger

  • Hoddinott, John
  • Sandstrom, Susanna
  • Upton, Joanna

We assess the relative impacts of receiving cash versus food transfers using a randomized design. Drawing on data collected in eastern Niger, we find that households randomized to receive a food basket experienced larger, positive impact on measures of food consumption and diet quality than those receiving the cash transfer. Other outcomes showed greater variation by season. Receiving food reduced the use of a number of coping strategies but this effect was more pronounced during the height of the lean season. Households receiving cash spent more money repairing their dwellings prior to the start of the rainy season and spent more on agricultural inputs during the growing season. Less than five percent of food was sold or exchanged for other goods. Food and cash were delivered with the same degree of frequency and timeliness but the food transfers cost 15 percent more to implement.

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Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. with number 149919.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea13:149919
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  1. 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.
  2. McKenzie, David, 2012. "Beyond baseline and follow-up: The case for more T in experiments," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 210-221.
  3. Gibson, John & Rozelle, Scott, 2000. "How Elastic Is Calorie Demand? Parametric, Nonparametric, And Semiparametric Results For Urban Papua New Guinea," Working Papers 11961, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  4. Subramanian, Shankar & Deaton, Angus, 1996. "The Demand for Food and Calories," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 133-62, February.
  5. Jenny Aker, Rachid Boumnijel, Amanda McClelland, and Niall Tierney, 2011. "Zap It to Me: The Short-Term Impacts of a Mobile Cash Transfer Program - Working Paper 268," Working Papers 268, Center for Global Development.
  6. Cunha, Jesse & De Giorgi, Giacomo & Jayachandran, Seema, 2011. "The Price Effects of Cash Versus In-Kind Transfers," CEPR Discussion Papers 8581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Hoddinott, John & Yohannes, Yisehac, 2002. "Dietary diversity as a food security indicator," FCND briefs 136, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Wiesmann, Doris & Bassett, Lucy & Benson, Todd & Hoddinott, John, 2009. "Validation of the world food programme's food consumption score and alternative indicators of household food security:," IFPRI discussion papers 870, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597, March.
  10. Miriam Bruhn & David McKenzie, 2009. "In Pursuit of Balance: Randomization in Practice in Development Field Experiments," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 200-232, October.
  11. Margolies, Amy & Hoddinott, John, 2012. "Mapping the Impacts of Food Aid: Current Knowledge and Future Directions," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  12. Jesse Cunha, 2010. "Testing Paternalism: Cash vs. In-kind Transfer in Rural Mexico," Discussion Papers 09-021, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
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