USAID Examining Use Of Cash Transfers Versus Conventional Foreign Aid
New York Times: Is Cash Better for Poor People Than Conventional Foreign Aid?
Marc Gunther, journalist for the New York Times
“…[USAID] has begun measuring a few of its traditional programs against cash transfers distributed by a nonprofit named GiveDirectly. Economists will try to figure out which approach does more good. This is the first time USAID has funded programs that simply give people cash, experts say, and they believe it is also the first time any funder has used cash as a tool to help determine which other programs work and which do not. … Studies have found positive impacts from cash transfers, not just on poverty but on health. … One advantage of providing money over conventional aid is that it is cheap and easy to deliver, via cellphones. … Some people argue that a second advantage of cash is philosophical. … Much will depend on how the USAID bureaucracy and its overseers in Congress and the Trump administration react to the idea of simply giving away money to the poor” (9/11).