The longstanding “cash versus food” debate has received renewed attention in both research and practice. This paper reviews key issues shaping the debate and presents new evidence from randomized and quasi-experimental evaluations that deliberately compare cash and in-kind food transfers in ten developing counties. Findings show that relative effectiveness cannot be generalized: although some differences emerge in terms of food consumption and dietary diversity, average impacts tend to depend on context, specific objectives, and their measurement.
This paper explores the impact of fear on the incomplete take-up of safety net programs in the United States. We exploit changes in deportation fear due to the roll-out and intensity of Secure Communities (SC), an immigration enforcement program that empowers the federal government to check the immigration status of anyone arrested by local police, leading to the forcible removal of approximately 380,000 immigrants. We estimate the spillover effect of SC on the take-up of federal means-tested programs by Hispanic citizens.
This brief provides an overview of the lessons learned from TANF’s and SNAP’s work requirements and discuss the implications of expanding work requirements in SNAP or introducing them in Medicaid.
We examine the effects of a quasi-experimental unconditional household income transfer on child emotional and behavioral health and personality traits. Using longitudinal data, we find that there are large beneficial effects on children’s emotional and behavioral health and personality traits during adolescence. We find evidence that these effects are most pronounced for children who start out with the lowest initial endowments. The income intervention also results in improvements in parental relationships which we interpret as a potential mechanism behind our findings.