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Luisa Natali


Luisa Natali’s primary research focus is on development economics and policy impact evaluation. Currently she is working on social policy and social protection, and in particular in the evaluation of cash transfer programmes, child well-being, poverty and vulnerability analysis, and the economics of gender. Luisa has previously worked as a research consultant for the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), and UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), as well as four years previously at Innocenti. Luisa also has field experience in Zambia, South Africa and Bangladesh. She holds a Master’s in Development Economics.
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Unconditional cash transfers are on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa, with recent estimates indicating a doubling of programmes between 2010 and 2014. This brief provides an overview of the comprehensive impacts across eight domains of two unconditional cash transfer programmes implemented by the Zambian Government: The Child Grant Programme (CGP) and the Multiple Category Targeting Programme (MCP). Although the primary objective of these programmes is poverty mitigation rather than economic empowerment, we document protective and productive outcomes in order to assess whether these programmes generate transformative effects and have the potential to offer a sustained pathway out of poverty for poor households.


Luisa Natali

In sub-Saharan Africa, the poorest region in the world, the number of cash transfer programmes has doubled in the last five years and reaches close to 50 million people. What is the impact of these programmes, and do they offer a sustained pathway out of ultra-poverty? In this paper we examine these questions using experimental data from two unconditional cash transfer programmes implemented by the Government of Zambia. We find far-reaching effects of these two programmes, not just on their primary objective, food security and consumption, but also on a range of productive and economic outcomes. After three years, we observe that household spending is 59 per cent larger than the value of the transfer received, implying a sizeable multiplier effect. These multipliers work through increased non-farm business activity and agricultural production.


Sudhanshu Handa; Luisa Natali; David Seidenfeld; Gelson Tembo; Benjamin Davis



Administrative Data: Missed opportunity for learning and research in humanitarian emergencies? (21 Jun 2018)

Researchers discuss the strengths and weaknesses of using administrative data collected during emergencies for research on children. Adminis ...

Opening the black box: Cash transfers and post-intervention research (23 Feb 2018)

Last Fall I visited three of the most poverty-stricken rural districts of Zambia: Kaputa, Kalabo and Shangombo. Each location took two days& ...


Social protection - cash transfers

A multi-country research initiative to provide rigorous evidence on the impact of large-scale national cash transfer programmes.