DIME Seminar - Paying it Forward: Short-Term Impacts of a Livelihoods Program with Built-In Spillovers

In this seminar, we highlight a study which evaluated the short-term impacts of Heifer International’s livestock transfer and training program in Nepal over a 1.5 year period using a randomized control trial (RCT). The RCT assigned three variations of the program in order to capture differential effects of various program components.  We also evaluated a unique “pay it forward” program rule where recipients were encouraged to share what they have learned and even share some of their newly accumulated wealth, in the form of a productive asset, to other households in need. The program targeted women and employed self-help groups, livestock transfers, and trainings. We assigned three variations of the program: full benefits, no livestock, and no values-based training, which included encouragement to "pay it forward" by training and giving livestock to others. For direct beneficiaries, we found increases in empowerment and financial inclusion across all variations of the program, and higher aspirations when values-based training is provided. We also observed built-in spillover effects. Individuals not directly targeted, but living near direct beneficiaries encouraged to pay forward benefits, exhibited similar impacts.