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In the form of bread? A randomized comparison of cash and food transfers in Yemen


  • Schwab, Benjamin


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Schwab, Benjamin, 2013. "In the form of bread? A randomized comparison of cash and food transfers in Yemen," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150448, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea13:150448

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jesse M. Cunha & Giacomo De Giorgi & Seema Jayachandran, 2011. "The Price Effects of Cash Versus In-Kind Transfers," NBER Working Papers 17456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ecker, Olivier & Breisinger, Clemens & McCool, Christen & Diao, Xinshen & Funes, Jose & You, Liangzhi & Yu, Bingxin, 2010. "Assessing food security in Yemen," IFPRI discussion papers 982, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. 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.
    4. Breisinger, Clemens & Collion, Marie-Helen & Diao, Xinshen & Rondot, Pierre, 2010. "Impacts of the triple global crisis on growth and poverty in Yemen," IFPRI discussion papers 955, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Ahmed, Akhter U. & Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Nasreen, Mahbuba & Hoddinott, John F. & Bryan, Elizabeth, 2009. "Comparing Food and Cash Transfers to the Ultra-Poor in Bangladesh," Research reports 163, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Robert T. Jensen & Nolan H. Miller, 2008. "Giffen Behavior and Subsistence Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1553-1577, September.
    7. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Gentilini,Ugo, 2016. "The revival of the"cash versus food"debate : new evidence for an old quandary ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7584, The World Bank.
    2. Peterman, Amber & Schwab, Benjamin & Roy, Shalini & Hidrobo, Melissa & Gilligan, Daniel, 2015. "Measuring women’s decisionmaking: Indicator choice and survey design experiments from cash and food transfer evaluations in Ecuador, Uganda, and Yemen:," IFPRI discussion papers 1453, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Upton, Joanna B., 2014. "Resolving the Puzzle of the Conditional Superiority of In-kind versus Cash Food Assistance: Evidence from Niger," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 172942, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Ugo Gentilini, 2016. "The Other Side of the Coin," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 24593.
    5. Alderman, Harold, 2014. "Can transfer programs be made more nutrition sensitive?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1342, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. John Bessant & Howard Rush & Anna Trifilova, 2015. "Crisis-Driven Innovation: The Case Of Humanitarian Innovation," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 19(06), pages 1-17, December.
    7. World Bank Group, 2016. "Cash Transfers in Humanitarian Contexts," World Bank Other Operational Studies 24699, The World Bank.
    8. Gentilini, Ugo, 2014. "Our daily bread : what is the evidence on comparing cash versus food transfers?," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 89502, The World Bank.

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    Agricultural and Food Policy; Consumer/Household Economics; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; International Development;

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