State of evidence on humanitarian cash transfers

by Sarah Bailey and Paul Harvey
Overseas Development Institute (ODI), 2015

8 pp. 172 kB 005_resize

Cash transfers have been increasingly adopted by countries worldwide as central elements of their poverty reduction strategies over the course of the last two decades. A growing number of studies provide rigorous evidence on the impact of cash transfers, as well as on the role of specific cash transfer design and implementation features in shaping outcomes. This background note provides a brief summary of the evidence base on humanitarian cash transfer programming. It outlines the types of evidence on cash transfers, findings on key issues and gaps. It focuses on cash transfers provided as relief and not the use of cash transfers for social protection and poverty reduction, though this distinction is sometimes blurred in contexts with protracted and repeated humanitarian crises.

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