IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wbk/wbrwps/8404.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The effects of cash transfers on adult labor market outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Baird,Sarah Jane
  • Mckenzie,David J.
  • Ozler,Berk

Abstract

The basic economic model of labor supply has a very clear prediction of what should be expected when an adult receives an unexpected cash windfall: they should work less and earn less. This intuition underlies concerns that many types of cash transfers, ranging from government benefits to migrant remittances, will undermine work ethics and make recipients lazy. This paper discusses a range of additional channels to this simple labor-leisure trade-off that can make this intuition misleading in low- and middle-income countries, including missing markets, price effects from conditions attached to transfers, and dynamic and general equilibrium effects. The paper uses this as a lens through which to examine the evidence on the adult labor market impacts of a wide range of cash transfer programs: government transfers, charitable giving and humanitarian transfers, remittances, cash assistance for job search, cash transfers for business start-up, and bundled interventions. Overall, cash transfers that are made without an explicit employment focus (such as conditional and unconditional cash transfers and remittances) tend to result in little to no change in adult labor. The main exceptions are transfers to the elderly and some refugees, who reduce work. In contrast, transfers made for job search assistance or business start-up tend to increase adult labor supply and earnings, with the likely main channels being the alleviation of liquidity and risk constraints.

Suggested Citation

  • Baird,Sarah Jane & Mckenzie,David J. & Ozler,Berk, 2018. "The effects of cash transfers on adult labor market outcomes," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8404, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:8404
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/334251523556191237/pdf/WPS8404.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David McKenzie, 2017. "How Effective Are Active Labor Market Policies in Developing Countries? A Critical Review of Recent Evidence," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 32(2), pages 127-154.
    2. 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.
    3. David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2008. "Experimental Evidence on Returns to Capital and Access to Finance in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(3), pages 457-482, November.
    4. Blattman, Christopher & Dercon, Stefan, 2016. "Occupational choice in early industrializing societies: Experimental evidence on the income and health effects of industrial and entrepreneurial work," CEPR Discussion Papers 11556, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Ham, Andrés & Michelson, Hope C., 2018. "Does the form of delivering incentives in conditional cash transfers matter over a decade later?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 96-108.
    6. Adriana D. Kugler & Ingrid Rojas, 2018. "Do CCTs Improve Employment and Earnings in the Very Long-Term? Evidence from Mexico," NBER Working Papers 24248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Ioana Marinescu, 2018. "No Strings Attached: The Behavioral Effects of U.S. Unconditional Cash Transfer Programs," NBER Working Papers 24337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. David Cesarini & Erik Lindqvist & Matthew J. Notowidigdo & Robert Östling, 2017. "The Effect of Wealth on Individual and Household Labor Supply: Evidence from Swedish Lotteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(12), pages 3917-3946, December.
    9. Arielle Bernhardt & Erica Field & Rohini Pande & Natalia Rigol, 2017. "Household Matters: Revisiting the Returns to Capital among Female Micro-entrepreneurs," NBER Working Papers 23358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Simon Franklin, 2015. "Location, search costs and youth unemployment: A randomized trial of transport subsidies in Ethiopia," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-11, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    11. Vimal Ranchhod, 2006. "The Effect Of The South African Old Age Pension On Labour Supply Of The Elderly," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 74(4), pages 725-744, December.
    12. Dasgupta, Partha & Ray, Debraj, 1986. "Inequality as a Determinant of Malnutrition and Unemployment: Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1011-1034, December.
    13. Prifti Ervin & Estruch Elisenda & Daidone Silvio & Davis Benjamin & Van Ufford Paul & Michelo Stanfeld & Handa Sudhanshu & Seidenfeld David & Tembo Gelson, 2017. "Learning About Labour Impacts of Cash Transfers in Zambia," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 26(4), pages 433-442.
    14. Manley, James & Gitter, Seth & Slavchevska, Vanya, 2013. "How Effective are Cash Transfers at Improving Nutritional Status?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 133-155.
    15. Susan W. Parker & Tom Vogl, 2018. "Do Conditional Cash Transfers Improve Economic Outcomes in the Next Generation? Evidence from Mexico," NBER Working Papers 24303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. David Lam & Murray Leibbrandt & Vimal Ranchhod, 2005. "Labour force withdrawal of the elderly in South Africa," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 118, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    17. Girum Abebe & Stefano Caria & Marcel Fafchamps & Paolo Falco & Simon Franklin & Simon Quinn, 2016. "Curse of Anonymity or Tyranny of Distance? The Impacts of Job-Search Support in Urban Ethiopia," NBER Working Papers 22409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Bernhardt, Arielle & Field, Erica & Pande, Rohini & Rigol, Natalia, 2017. "Household Matters: Revisiting the Returns to Capital among Female Micro-entrepreneurs," CEPR Discussion Papers 11981, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Johannes Haushofer & Jeremy Shapiro, 2016. "The Short-term Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers to the Poor: ExperimentalEvidence from Kenya," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(4), pages 1973-2042.
    20. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Rema Hanna & Gabriel E. Kreindler & Benjamin A. Olken, 2017. "Debunking the Stereotype of the Lazy Welfare Recipient: Evidence from Cash Transfer Programs," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 32(2), pages 155-184.
    21. Kate Ambler, 2016. "Bargaining with Grandma: The Impact of the South African Pension on Household Decision-Making," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(4), pages 900-932.
    22. Posel, Dorrit & Fairburn, James A. & Lund, Frances, 2006. "Labour migration and households: A reconsideration of the effects of the social pension on labour supply in South Africa," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 836-853, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Vidhya Unnikrishnan & Kunal Sen, 2020. "Old-age pensions and female labour supply in India," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2020-90, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Rafael Novella & Laura Ripani & Claudia Vazquez, 2021. "Conditional cash transfers, female bargaining power and parental labour supply," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 33(2), pages 422-436, March.
    3. Ohrnberger, Julius & Anselmi, Laura & Fichera, Eleonora & Sutton, Matt, 2020. "The effect of cash transfers on mental health: Opening the black box – A study from South Africa," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 260(C).
    4. Kate Ambler & Alan de Brauw & Susan Godlonton, 2018. "Rural Labor Market Responses to Large Lumpy Cash Transfers: Evidence from Malawi," Department of Economics Working Papers 2018-11, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    5. Jules Gazeaud & Eric Mvukiyehe & Olivier Sterck, 2019. "Cash Transfers and Migration: Theory and Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," CSAE Working Paper Series 2019-16, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    6. Jules Gazeaud & Claire Ricard, 2021. "Conditional cash transfers and the learning crisis: evidence from Tayssir scale-up in Morocco," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp2102, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.
    7. Abhijit Banerjee & Dean Karlan & Hannah Trachtman & Christopher R. Udry, 2020. "Does Poverty Change Labor Supply? Evidence from Multiple Income Effects and 115,579 Bags," NBER Working Papers 27314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ambler, Kate & Godlonton, Susan, 2021. "Earned and unearned income: Experimental evidence on expenditures and labor supply in Malawi," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 33-44.
    9. Del Boca, Daniela & Pronzato, Chiara & Sorrenti, Giuseppe, 2021. "Conditional cash transfer programs and household labor supply," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 136(C).
    10. Manuela A. de Paz-Báñez & María José Asensio-Coto & Celia Sánchez-López & María-Teresa Aceytuno, 2020. "Is There Empirical Evidence on How the Implementation of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) Affects Labour Supply? A Systematic Review," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(22), pages 1-36, November.
    11. Sung‐Eun Cho & Young‐Min Lee, 2020. "The Effects of Youth Job Seeker Allowance in South Korea," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 34(2), pages 64-77, November.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Abebe, Girum & Caria, Stefano & Fafchamps, Marcel & Falco, Paolo & Franklin, Simon & Quinn, Simon, 2017. "Anonymity of distance? Job search and labour market exclusion in a growing African city," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86573, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Abebe, Girum & Caria, Stefano & Fafchamps, Marcel & Falco, Paolo & Franklin, Simon & Quinn, Simon & Shilpi, Forhad, 2017. "Matching firms and workers in a field experiment in Ethiopia," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86572, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Kacker, Kanishka, 2019. "Social transfers and labor supply: Long run rvidence from South Africa," MPRA Paper 99044, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Peterman, Amber & Schwab, Benjamin & Roy, Shalini & Hidrobo, Melissa & Gilligan, Daniel O., 2021. "Measuring women’s decisionmaking: Indicator choice and survey design experiments from cash and food transfer evaluations in Ecuador, Uganda and Yemen," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 141(C).
    5. Alessandro Tondini & Cally Ardington & Ingrid Woolard, 2017. "Public pensions and elderly informal employment: Evidence from a change in retirement age in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 206, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    6. Salehi-Isfahani, Djavad & Mostafavi-Dehzooei, Mohammad H., 2018. "Cash transfers and labor supply: Evidence from a large-scale program in Iran," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 349-367.
    7. Edmonds, Eric & Theoharides, Caroline, 2020. "The short term impact of a productive asset transfer in families with child labor: Experimental evidence from the Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).
    8. Livia Alfonsi & Oriana Bandiera & Vittorio Bassi & Robin Burgess & Imran Rasul & Munshi Sulaiman & Anna Vitali, 2020. "Tackling Youth Unemployment: Evidence From a Labor Market Experiment in Uganda," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(6), pages 2369-2414, November.
    9. Ravallion, Martin, 2019. "Guaranteed employment or guaranteed income?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 209-221.
    10. Juliana Mesén Vargas, 2018. "Income Effect on Labor Outcomes for People Living in Poverty: the case of PROGRESA," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2018015, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    11. Lehmann, M. Christian & Matarazzo, Hellen, 2019. "Voters’ response to in-kind transfers: Quasi-experimental evidence from prescription drug cost-sharing in Brazil," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 184(C).
    12. Shapiro, Jeremy, 2019. "The impact of recipient choice on aid effectiveness," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 137-149.
    13. Jean-Claude BERTHELEMY, 2018. "Exits from the Poverty Trap and Growth Accelerations in a Dual Economy Model," Working Papers P234, FERDI.
    14. Roxana Manea; Patrizio Piraino; Martina Viarengo, 2021. "Crime, Inequality and Subsidized Housing:Evidence from South Africa," CIES Research Paper series 66-2021, Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute.
    15. A. Stefano Caria, 2020. "An Adaptive Targeted Field Experiment: Job Search Assistance for Refugees in Jordan," CSAE Working Paper Series 2020-20, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    16. Jones, Damon & Marinescu, Ioana E., 2018. "The Labor Market Impacts of Universal and Permanent Cash Transfers: Evidence from the Alaska Permanent Fund," IZA Discussion Papers 11356, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Cornelius Christian & Lukas Hensel & Christopher Roth, 2019. "Income Shocks and Suicides: Causal Evidence From Indonesia," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 101(5), pages 905-920, December.
    18. Marcel Fafchamps & Simon Quinn, 2017. "Aspire," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(10), pages 1615-1633, October.
    19. Unnikrishnan, Vidhya & Imai, Katsushi S., 2020. "Does the old-age pension scheme improve household welfare? Evidence from India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    20. Giambra, Samuele & McKenzie, David, 2021. "Self-employment and migration," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 141(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic Assistance; Disability; Services&Transfers to Poor; Access of Poor to Social Services; Employment and Unemployment; Labor Markets; Rural Labor Markets; Health Care Services Industry;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:8404. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/dvewbus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Roula I. Yazigi (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/dvewbus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.