In the form of bread? A randomized comparison of cash and food transfers in Yemen
Debate over the implementation of food assistance programs and the role of in-kind food aid has intensified in recent years. Within that context, we study a randomized control trial of 136 rural communities in Yemen. Poor households in half of the communities received assistance in the form of in-kind food (wheat flour and oil), and households in the other half received an equal valued cash transfer. On average, households that received cash exhibited greater dietary diversity, with differences driven largely by increases in consumption of protein-rich foods like meat and fish. However, food households consumed, on average, approximately 100 more calories per person per day than cash recipients, due largely to higher wheat flour and oil consumption. Modality type did not significantly affect non-food consumption, including usage of qat, a mild narcotic leaf consumed widely in Yemen. Cash cost nearly a third less to transfer then food.
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