The wider impacts of cash transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa

Natali, Luisa (2019) The wider impacts of cash transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis is formed of three separate essays which provide experimental evidence on the wider impacts
of cash transfers in Uganda and Zambia.

In the first essay, I use data from a cluster randomized controlled trial of a food and cash transfer intervention in Karamoja, Uganda, targeted to households with young children and aimed at increasing food security and early child development. I aim to understand if transfer of resources has additional impacts which spill over into domains beyond primary objectives and onto children not directly meant to benefit from the programme. The cash transfer – although not framed as a livelihood programme – improved household productive investments and adults’ labour supply. There is also a positive impact on children’s workloads as children help their parents with agricultural activities. The child work effect does not affect children’s schooling but rather comes at the expense of leisure time. Overall, I find no impact on intra-household allocation for the food treatment arm.

The second essay examines the impacts of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme (CGP) on women’s cash savings. The CGP is an unconditional cash transfer targeted to households with young children and paid directly to the child’s caregiver, of whom virtually all are women. The analysis uses longitudinal data from a cluster randomized controlled trial in rural areas over 48 months. Results show that the CGP has enabled poor women to save in cash even in the absence of inclusive financial systems. In addition, the increase in women’s cash savings does not crowd out other traditional forms of household savings such as livestock. Likely mechanisms which facilitate savings relate to changes in intra- household decision-making regarding control over resources and increased household investment in non- farm enterprises; feedback effects are plausible.

The third essay analyzes the impact of the same programme on child schooling and work. Although the CGP’s primary objectives are related to very young children, we look to see if the programme has impacts on older children who, in principle, are not the main target population of the intervention. Using experimental impact evaluation data over 36 months, findings indicate that the CGP had a positive significant impact on attendance among children aged 11−14. This is the age range during which sharp dropout begins to occur in Zambia. The CGP has also reduced work-for-pay among children aged 11−14. Finally, the analysis provides evidence on the potential pathways through which the intervention impacts school attendance. Households in the CGP spend more on education, and in particular on uniforms, key barriers to school enrolment and attendance in study areas.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic history and conditions > HC0800 Africa
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2019 15:52
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2021 07:34

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