by Duncan Green
Oxfam – From Poverty to Power, March 10, 2017
Cash transfers are 25-30% cheaper than in kind aid (so more food per dollar). When people are given in kind aid, they typically sell 30-50% of it to get the cash they need, at roughly 30% of the actual cost of the aid – a massive level of waste. When you ask refugees, they invariably say cash is better than stuff (e.g. 80% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon). Plus it’s good politics – cash stimulates the local economy, so local people are less resentful of the influx of refugees, and is more respectful – refugees don’t all want the same thing; cash respects their right to make decisions about their lives.