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General Equilibrium Effects of Cash Transfers: Experimental Evidence from Kenya

Author

Listed:
  • Dennis Egger
  • Johannes Haushofer
  • Edward Miguel
  • Paul Niehaus
  • Michael W. Walker

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 fiscal multiplier of 2.7. We interpret welfare implications through the lens of a simple household optimization framework.

Suggested Citation

  • Dennis Egger & Johannes Haushofer & Edward Miguel & Paul Niehaus & Michael W. Walker, 2019. "General Equilibrium Effects of Cash Transfers: Experimental Evidence from Kenya," NBER Working Papers 26600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26600
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Davide Viviano, 2020. "Experimental Design under Network Interference," Papers 2003.08421, arXiv.org, revised Jun 2020.
    2. Sedlmayr, Richard & Shah, Anuj & Sulaiman, Munshi, 2020. "Cash-plus: Poverty impacts of alternative transfer-based approaches," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    3. Karthik Muralidharan & Paul Niehaus & Sandip Sukhtankar, 2020. "Identity Verification Standards in Welfare Programs: Experimental Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 26744, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Craig McIntosh & Andrew Zeitlin, 2020. "Using Household Grants to Benchmark the Cost Effectiveness of a USAID Workforce Readiness Program," Papers 2009.01749, arXiv.org.
    5. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Daniel Murphy, 2020. "Inequality, Fiscal Policy and COVID19 Restrictions in a Demand-Determined Economy," NBER Working Papers 27366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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.
    7. Davide Viviano & Jelena Bradic, 2020. "Fair Policy Targeting," Papers 2005.12395, arXiv.org.
    8. Davide Viviano, 2020. "Policy choice in experiments with unknown interference," Papers 2011.08174, arXiv.org, revised Jan 2021.
    9. 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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    More about this item

    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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