Cash transfers: What Does the Evidence Say? A Rigorous Review of Programme Impact and of the Role of Design and Implementation Features

Start Date: 05 October 2016 End Date: 05 October 2016

This study retrieves, assesses and synthesises the evidence on the effects of cash transfers on individuals and households through a rigorous review of the literature of 15 years, from 2000 to 2015, covering low- and middle-income countries world-wide. Focusing on non-contributory monetary transfers, including conditional and unconditional social assistance transfers, social pensions and enterprise grants, it analyses the evidence of a) the impact of cash transfers on 35 indicators capturing six outcome areas (monetary poverty; education; health and nutrition; savings, investment and production; employment and empowerment) and of b) of the links between variations in cash transfer design and implementation features (core design features; conditionality; targeting mechanisms; payment systems; grievance mechanisms and programme governance; complementary interventions and supply side services) and these same outcomes. This study is distinct from previous cash transfers literature reviews in three key features: the methods used, the breadth of the evidence covered and the specific focus on the role of programme design and implementation features.  It describes the evidence base in terms of size and type of studies by outcome of interest, geographical coverage and cash transfer programme, and synthesises the evidence on the impacts (intended and unintended) of cash transfers on the six outcome areas of interest and on the role played by programme design features on these outcomes, to provide an uptodate and detailed single resource on the growing body of evidence on cash transfers and how they work.