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General equilibrium effects of cash transfers: experimental evidence from Kenya

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  • Egger, Dennis
  • Haushofer, Johannes
  • Miguel, Edward
  • Niehaus, Paul
  • Walker, Michael

Abstract

How large economic stimuli generate individual and aggregate responses is a central question in economics, but has not been studied experimentally. We provided one-time cash transfers of about USD 1000 to over 10,500 poor households across 653 randomized villages in rural Kenya. The implied fiscal shock was over 15 percent of local GDP. We find large impacts on consumption and assets for recipients. Importantly, we document large positive spillovers on non-recipient households and firms, and minimal price inflation. We estimate a local transfer multiplier of 2.4. We interpret welfare implications through the lens of a simple household optimization framework.
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  • Egger, Dennis & Haushofer, Johannes & Miguel, Edward & Niehaus, Paul & Walker, Michael, 2020. "General equilibrium effects of cash transfers: experimental evidence from Kenya," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7b84w7hh, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt7b84w7hh
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    10. Sedlmayr, Richard & Shah, Anuj & Sulaiman, Munshi, 2020. "Cash-plus: Poverty impacts of alternative transfer-based approaches," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
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    13. Olivier Sterck & Antonia Delius, 2020. "Cash Transfers and Micro-Enterprise Performance: Theory and Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Kenya," CSAE Working Paper Series 2020-09, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
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    15. Matthew W. Ridley & Gautam Rao & Frank Schilbach & Vikram H. Patel, 2020. "Poverty, Depression, and Anxiety: Causal Evidence and Mechanisms," NBER Working Papers 27157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    17. Craig McIntosh & Andrew Zeitlin, 2020. "Using Household Grants to Benchmark the Cost Effectiveness of a USAID Workforce Readiness Program," Papers 2009.01749, arXiv.org.
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    20. Ferreira, Pedro Cavalcanti & Peruffo, Marcel Cortes & Cordeiro Valério, André, 2021. "Universal Basic Income in Developing Countries: Pitfalls and Alternatives," FGV EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 821, EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil).
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    Keywords

    Social and Behavioral Sciences;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development
    • R13 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General Equilibrium and Welfare Economic Analysis of Regional Economies

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