KEBBI, September 1, 2017–The World Bank’s Africa Gender Innovation Lab, in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), conducted an experiment that varied the sum and frequency of unconditional cash transfers to assess whether receiving cash transfers monthly or quarterly has different effects on recipients.
1,200 women from households in extreme poverty were assigned by public lottery to receive quarterly cash transfers, monthly cash transfers or none at all. The recipients were from rural farming households, and primarily engaged in household work or childcare. Following a 15-month cash transfer program, a survey was conducted revealing that monthly or quarterly transfers have no substantial difference in terms of impact.
Women recipients retain, on average, 54% of the money they receive. The transfers improve daily per capita consumption, food security, and dietary diversity. Recipients report being happier, more satisfied with their lives and are more likely to be engaged in economic activity. Most of the newly economically active women, started new non-farm businesses. Cash recipient business owners also reported 80% higher business profits compared to women in the control group. There is also a marked increase in spending on festivals and celebrations, demonstrating women are able to grow their social capital.
Overall the study finds that cash transfers offered to women from ultra-poor households in northwest Nigeria have an immediate positive impact on household consumption, as well as female employment and well-being. Additionally, less-frequent transfers are just as effective as more-frequent transfers.
For more information about the study and its results, read the policy brief.