CONNECT
search advanced search
UNICEF Innocenti
Office of Research-Innocenti
search menu

Journal Articles

UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of international peer reviewed journals

RESULTS:   32     SORT BY:

FILTER BY:

PUBLICATION DATE:
CONTACT US
11 - 20 of 32
A mixed-method review of Intimate partner violence and cash transfers in low- and middle-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
A.M. Buller, Amber Peterman, M. Raganathan, A. Bleile, M. Hidrobo, L. Heise

Published: 2018
There is increasing evidence that cash transfer (CT) programs decrease intimate partner violence (IPV). However, little is known about how CTs achieve this impact. We conducted a mixed-method review of studies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Fourteen quantitative and eight qualitative studies met our inclusion criteria, of which eleven and five, respectively, demonstrated evidence that CTs decrease IPV. We found little support for increases in IPV, with only two studies showing overall mixed or adverse impacts. Drawing on these studies, as well as related bodies of evidence, we developed a program theory proposing three pathways through which CT could impact IPV: (a) economic security and emotional well-being, (b) intra-household conflict, and (c) women's empowerment. The economic security and well-being pathway hypothesizes decreases in IPV, while the other two pathways have ambiguous effects depending on program design features and behavioral responses to program components. Future studies should improve IPV measurement, empirical analysis of program mechanisms, and fill regional gaps. Program framing and complementary activities, including those with the ability to shift intra-household power relations are likely to be important design features for understanding how to maximize and leverage the impact of CTs for reducing IPV, and mitigating potential adverse impacts. Intimate partner violence. Domestic violence. Cash transfers. Women's empowerment
Context and Measurement: An analysis of the relationship between intrahoushold decision making and autonomy

AUTHOR(S)
G. Seymour, Amber Peterman

Published: 2018
Using data from two culturally distinct locales, Bangladesh and Ghana, we investigate whether men and women who report sole decision making in a particular domain experience stronger (or weaker) feelings of autonomous motivation—measured using the Relative Autonomy Index (RAI)—compared to those who report joint decision making. Used primarily in psychology, the RAI measures the extent to which an individual’s actions are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, where higher scores indicate greater autonomy. On aggregate, we find differences between men and women, and across countries, in the significance of association between the individual’s level of participation in decision-making and autonomy. In addition, we find heterogeneity in the strength of this association, depending on the domain (e.g., productive versus personal decisions) and whether partners agree on who normally makes decisions. These findings imply that details related to context and measurement matter for understanding individual decision-making power. We argue that all research using information on decision-making should include a careful analysis of men’s and women’s perceptions of decision making within the household, which may be useful for calibrating indicators to suit specific contexts.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 97-112 | Tags: cash transfers, household income
Income transfers, early marriage and fertility in Malawi and Zambia

AUTHOR(S)
Fidelia Dake, Luisa Natali, G. Angeles, Jacobus de Hoop, Sudhanshu Handa, Amber Peterman

Published: 2018
There is increasing interest in the ability of cash transfers to facilitate safe transitions to adulthood in low‐income settings; however, evidence from scaled‐up government programming demonstrating this potential is scarce. Using two experimental evaluations of unconditional cash transfers targeted to ultra‐poor and labor‐constrained households over approximately three years in Malawi and Zambia, we examine whether cash transfers delayed early marriage and pregnancy among youth aged 14 to 21 years at baseline. Although we find strong impacts on poverty and schooling, two main pathways hypothesized in the literature, we find limited impacts on safe transition outcomes for both males and females. In addition, despite hypotheses that social norms may constrain potential impacts of cash transfer programs, we show suggestive evidence that pre‐program variation in social norms across communities does not significantly affect program impact. We conclude with policy implications and suggestions for future research.
Mythbusting: confronting six common perceptions about cash transfer programs in sub-Saharan Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Sudhanshu Handa, Silvio Daidone, Amber Peterman, Benjamin Davis, Audrey Pereira, Tia Palermo, Jennifer Yablonski

Published: 2018
This paper summarizes evidence on six perceptions associated with cash transfer programming, using eight rigorous evaluations conducted on large-scale government unconditional cash transfers in sub-Saharan Africa under the Transfer Project. Specifically, it investigates if transfers: 1) induce higher spending on alcohol or tobacco; 2) are fully consumed (rather than invested); 3) create dependency (reduce participation in productive activities); 4) increase fertility; 5) lead to negative community-level economic impacts (including price distortion and inflation); and 6) are fiscally unsustainable. The paper presents evidence refuting each claim, leading to the conclusion that these perceptions—insofar as they are utilized in policy debates—undercut potential improvements in well-being and livelihood strengthening among the poor, which these programs can bring about in sub-Saharan Africa, and globally. It concludes by underscoring outstanding research gaps and policy implications for the continued expansion of unconditional cash transfers in the region and beyond.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 259-298 | Tags: cash transfers, sub-saharan africa
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
Poverty and perceived stress: Evidence from two unconditional cash transfer programs in Zambia

AUTHOR(S)
Jacobus de Hoop, Tia Palermo, Lisa Hjelm, Sudhanshu Handa

Published: 2017

Introduction

Poverty is a chronic stressor that can lead to poor physical and mental health. This study examines whether two similar government poverty alleviation programs reduced the levels of perceived stress and poverty among poor households in Zambia.

Method

Secondary data from two cluster randomized controlled trials were used to evaluate the impacts of two unconditional cash transfer programs in Zambia. Participants were interviewed at baseline and followed over 36 months. Perceived stress among female caregivers was assessed using the Cohen Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Poverty indicators assessed included per capita expenditure, household food security, and (nonproductive) asset ownership. Fixed effects and ordinary least squares regressions were run, controlling for age, education, marital status, household demographics, location, and poverty status at baseline.

Results

Cash transfers did not reduce perceived stress but improved economic security (per capita consumption expenditure, food insecurity, and asset ownership). Among these poverty indicators, only food insecurity was associated with perceived stress. Age and education showed no consistent association with stress, whereas death of a household member was associated with higher stress levels.

Conclusion

In this setting, perceived stress was not reduced by a positive income shock but was correlated with food insecurity and household deaths, suggesting that food security is an important stressor in this context. Although the program did reduce food insecurity, the size of the reduction was not enough to generate a statistically significant change in stress levels. The measure used in this study appears not to be correlated with characteristics to which it has been linked in other settings, and thus, further research is needed to examine whether this widely used perceived stress measure appropriately captures the concept of perceived stress in this population.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 110-117 | Tags: cash transfers, child poverty
Cash for Women’s Empowerment? A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Program

AUTHOR(S)
Juan Bonilla, Rosa Castro Zarzur, Sudhanshu Handa, Claire Nowlin, Amber Peterman, Hannah Ring, David Seidenfeld

Published: 2017
The empowerment of women, broadly defined, is an often-cited objective and benefit of social cash transfer programs in developing countries. Despite the promise and potential of cash transfers to empower women, the evidence supporting this outcome is mixed. In addition, there is little evidence from programs at scale in sub-Saharan Africa. We conducted a mixed-methods evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Program, a poverty-targeted, unconditional transfer given to mothers or primary caregivers of young children aged zero to five. The quantitative component was a four-year longitudinal clustered-randomized control trial in three rural districts, and the qualitative component was a one-time data collection involving in-depth interviews with women and their partners stratified on marital status and program participation. Our study found that women in beneficiary households were making more sole or joint decisions (across five out of nine domains); however, impacts translated into relatively modest increases in the number of decision domains a woman is involved in, on average by 0.34 (or a 6% increase over a baseline mean of 5.3). Qualitatively, we found that changes in intrahousehold relationships were limited by entrenched gender norms, which indicate men as heads of household and primary decision makers. However, women’s narratives showed the transfer increased financial empowerment as they were able to retain control over transfers for household investment and savings for emergencies. We highlight methodological challenges in using intrahousehold decision making as the primary indicator to measure empowerment. Results show potential for unconditional cash transfer programs to improve the financial and intrahousehold status of female beneficiaries, however it is likely additional design components are need for transformational change.
Understanding the linkages between social safety nets and childhood violence: a review of the evidence from low- and middle-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Amber Peterman, Naomi Neijhoft, Sarah Cook, Tia Palermo

Published: 2017
As many as one billion children experience violence every year, and household- and community-level poverty are among the risk factors for child protection violations. Social safety nets (SSNs) are a main policy tool to address poverty and vulnerability, and there is substantial evidence demonstrating positive effects on children’s health and human capital. This paper reviews evidence and develops a framework to understand linkages between non-contributory SSNs and the experience of childhood emotional, physical and sexual violence in low- and middle-income countries. We catalogue 14 rigorous impact evaluations, 11 of which are completed, analysing 57 unique impacts on diverse violence indicators. Among these impacts, approximately one in five represent statistically significant protective effects on childhood violence. Promising evidence relates to sexual violence among female adolescents in Africa, while there is less clear evidence of significant impacts in other parts of the developing world, and on young child measures, including violent discipline. Further, few studies are set up to meaningfully unpack mechanisms between SSNs and childhood violence; however, those most commonly hypothesized operate at the household level (through increases in economic security and reductions in poverty-related stress), the interpersonal level (improved parental behaviours, caregiving practices, improved psychosocial well-being) and at the child-level (protective education and decreases in problem or risky behaviours). It is important to emphasize that traditional SSNs are never designed with violence prevention as primary objectives, and thus should not be considered as standalone interventions to reduce risks for childhood violence. However, SSNs, particularly within integrated protection systems, appear to have potential to reduce violence risk. Linkages between SSNs and childhood violence are understudied, and investments should be made to close this evidence gap.
Investments in children’s health and the Kenyan cash transfer for orphans and vulnerable children: evidence from an unconditional cash transfer scheme

AUTHOR(S)
Carolyn Huang, Kavita Singh, Sudhanshu Handa, Carolyn Halpern, Audrey Pettifor, Harsha Thirumurthy

Published: 2017
Child mortality is one of the most pressing global health and policy issues in the developing world. The leading drivers of death—pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria—are preventable and treatable. However, these illnesses are exacerbated by a lack of accessible nutrition, water, basic and preventive health services, and sanitary living conditions—all factors which are more likely to disproportionately impact the poor. We examine whether Kenya’s largest social protection impacts children’s incidence of upper respiratory illness. The Kenya Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children was designed to support orphans affected by HIV/AIDS and has covered over 240,000 households as of 2014. Using longitudinal, cluster-randomized program data from 2007 to 2009, we run a generalized linear latent and mixed method estimation model on a sample of children 0–7 years and under-5 years of age. We find that the program is associated with a decrease in illness in children 0–7 years of age (P < 0.05), but found no effects on a stratified sample of under-5 children. Furthermore, no impacts on health care seeking in the event of illness were detected. This study is one of few examining children’s health using data from a large scale unconditional cash transfer program. With the widespread adoption of over 123 cash transfer programs across sub-Saharan Africa, these findings suggest social cash transfer programs are capable of promoting the multidimensional well-being for the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition: Pathways and Impacts

AUTHOR(S)
Richard de Groot, Tia Palermo, Sudhanshu Handa, Luigi Peter Ragno, Amber Peterman

Published: 2017

Childhood malnutrition remains a significant global problem, with an estimated 162 million children under the age of five suffering from stunted growth. This article examines the extent to which cash transfer programmes can improve child nutrition. It adopts a framework that captures and explains the pathways and determinants of child nutrition. The framework is then used to organize and discuss relevant evidence from the impact evaluation literature, focusing on impact pathways and new and emerging findings from sub-Saharan Africa to identify critical elements that determine child nutrition outcomes as well as knowledge gaps requiring further research, such as children's dietary diversity, caregiver behaviours and stress.

11 - 20 of 32