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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of international peer reviewed journals

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1 - 10 of 32
More Evidence on the Impact of Government Social Protection in Sub Saharan Africa: Ghana, Malawi and Zimbabwe

AUTHOR(S)
Sudhanshu Handa, Frank Otchere, Paul Sirma

Published: 2021

We present evidence on the overall impacts of state-sponsored cash transfer programmes in sub-Saharan Africa, using data from three impact evaluations of government programmes. All three programmes were a key component of the poverty reduction strategy of the respective governments at the time of the evaluations. We show effects across nine broad domains including both protection, production and human development, using baseline and follow-up household surveys on treatment and control groups. We relate the pattern of impacts to programme design parameters to further understand the constraints faced by ultra-poor rural households.

All three programmes have strong effects on their primary objective—food security or food consumption, as well as on secondary objectives that include livelihood strengthening and children’s well-being. The largest and most consistent impacts occur in Malawi, where transfer values are in line with international best practice and payments were made regularly during the study period. All programmes show a positive income multiplier, with the multiplier largest in Malawi at 2.94.

The overall results across three national programmes add to the growing evidence from Africa that government unconditional cash transfers have important positive effects on households, that these effects are not limited to just food security, and that programme design features influence the pattern and size of impacts.

Government Anti-Poverty Programming and Intimate Partner Violence in Ghana

AUTHOR(S)
Amber Peterman, Elsa Valli, Tia Palermo

Published: 2021

We examine whether a government cash transfer program, paired with a health insurance premium waiver and targeted to pregnant women and mothers of young children in Ghana, reduced intimate partner violence (IPV). The evaluation took place in two northern regions and followed a 24-month longitudinal quasi-experimental design. Findings show significant decreases in the 12-month frequency of emotional, physical and combined IPV (0.09 – 0.12 standard deviations). Analysis of pathways indicate improvements in economic security and women’s empowerment may account for reductions in IPV. Results indicate a promising role for social protection in improving the lives of pregnant women and new mothers.

Beyond internal validity: Towards a broader understanding of credibility in development policy research

AUTHOR(S)
Gustavo Angeles, Sudhanshu Handa, Amber Peterman, et al...

Published: 2020
We provide evidence from the Transfer Project to show that methodological design is only one factor in determining credibility in the eyes of policymakers. Policymakers understand concerns around internal validity, but also value collaborative research engagement, which builds trust, allows co-creation of research questions, informs operations throughout the evaluation period and leverages national research expertise. Further, the mere act of engaging in a large-scale, transparent impact evaluation, across quasi- and experimental designs can change the culture of decision-making within an agency, leading to better policy choices in the long run. We advocate for a more inclusive approach to policy research that begins with identifying the most relevant research question and fitting the methods to the question rather than vice-versa. We challenge the field to engage more closely with policymakers to identify their evidence needs in order to prioritize the end objective of improving the lives of the poor—regardless of methodological design choices.
More evidence on the relationship between cash transfers and child height

AUTHOR(S)
Averi Chakrabarti, Sudhanshu Handa, Luisa Natali, David Seidenfeld, Gelson Tembo

Published: 2020
We examine the effect of the Zambia Child Grant Programme – an unconditional cash transfer (CT) targeted to rural households with children under age five – on height-for-age up to four years after programme initiation. The CT scheme had large positive effects on nutritional inputs like food expenditure and meal frequency, but no impact on child height-for-age. Production function estimates indicate that food carries little weight in the production of child height in the study sample. In settings with poor health infrastructure and harsh disease environments, a stand-alone CT is unlikely to address long-term chronic malnutrition unless accompanied by complementary interventions.
How to Target Households in Adaptive Social Protection Systems? Evidence from Humanitarian and Development Approaches in Niger

AUTHOR(S)
Pascale Schnitzer

Published: 2019
The methods used to identify the beneficiaries of programmes aiming to address persistent poverty and shocks are subject to frequent policy debates. Relying on panel data from Niger, this report simulates the performance of various targeting methods that are widely used by development and humanitarian actors. The methods include proxy-means testing (PMT), household economy analysis (HEA), geographical targeting, and combined methods. Results show that PMT performs more effectively in identifying persistently poor households, while HEA shows superior performance in identifying transiently food insecure households. Geographical targeting is particularly efficient in responding to food crises, which tend to be largely covariate. Combinations of geographical, PMT, and HEA approaches may be used as part of an efficient and scalable adaptive social protection system. Results motivate the consolidation of data across programmes, which can support the application of alternative targeting methods tailored to programme-specific objectives.
Cash Transfers, Microentrepreneurial Activity, and Child Work: Evidence from Malawi and Zambia

AUTHOR(S)
Jacobus de Hoop, Valeria Groppo, Sudhanshu Handa

Published: 2019
Cash transfer programs are rapidly becoming a key component of the social safety net of many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The primary aim of these programs is to help households improve their food security and to smooth consumption during periods of economic duress. However, beneficiary households have also been shown to use these programs to expand their microentrepreneurial activities. Cluster-randomized trials carried out during the rollout of large-scale programs in Malawi and Zambia show that children may increase their work in the household enterprise through such programs. Both programs increased forms of work that may be detrimental to children, such as activities that expose children to hazards in Malawi and excessive working hours in Zambia. However, both programs also induced positive changes in other child well-being domains, such as school attendance and material well-being, leading to a mixed and inconclusive picture of the implications of these programs for children.
Impact evaluation of a social protection programme paired with fee waivers on enrolment in Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme

AUTHOR(S)
Tia Palermo, Elsa Valli, Gustavo Angeles, Marlous de Milliano, Clement Adamba, Tayllor Renee Spadafora, Clare Barrington

Published: 2019
While impacts on NHIS enrolment were significant, gaps remain to maximise the potential of integrated programming. NHIS and LEAP could be better streamlined to ensure poor households fully benefit from both services, in a further step towards integrated social protection.
Government of Malawi's unconditional cash transfer improves youth mental health

AUTHOR(S)
Gustavo Angeles, Jacobus de Hoop, Sudhanshu Handa, Kelly Kilburn, Annamaria Milazzo, Amber Peterman

Published: 2019
We explore the impacts of Malawi's national unconditional cash transfer program targeting ultra-poor households on youth mental health. Experimental findings show that the program significantly improved mental health outcomes. Among girls in particular, the program reduces indications of depression by about 15 percentage points. We investigate the contribution of different possible pathways to the overall program impact, including education, health, consumption, caregiver's stress levels and life satisfaction, perceived social support, and participation in hard and unpleasant work. The pathways explain from 46 to 65 percent of the program impact, advancing our understanding of how economic interventions can affect mental health of youth in resource-poor settings. The findings underline that unconditional cash grants, which are used on an increasingly large scale as part of national social protection systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, have the potential to improve youth mental wellbeing and thus may help break the vicious cycle of poverty and poor mental health.
Still a leap of faith: Microfinance for prevention of violence against women and girls in low- and middle-income settings

AUTHOR(S)
Amber Peterman, Tia Palermo, Giulia Ferrari

Published: 2018
Economic strengthening interventions, including microfinance initiatives have been proposed as promising strategies to reduce interpersonal violence in low-income and middle-income settings. Despite these recommendations, there is little rigorous empirical evidence that microfinance alone or synergistically with gender norms or equity training can reduce violence against children or intimate partner violence.
  • We call for further investments in evidence generation around economic strengthening before scaling-up potentially ineffective interventions

  • Cash Transfers, Early Marriage, and Fertility in Malawi and Zambia

    AUTHOR(S)
    Fidelia Dake, Luisa Natali, Gustavo Angeles, Jacobus de Hoop, Sudhanshu Handa

    Published: 2018
    1 - 10 of 32