What do we know about the effects of cash transfers on intimate partner violence (IPV)? A handy brief by Heise summarizes results from 22 studies across 13 countries (as reviewed by Buller et al). Over 70% of such evaluations found that cash transfers decrease IPV through changes in economic security, intrahousehold conflict, and women’s empowerment. Stronger impacts are found on physical and sexual IPV (44% of studies show this effect), and weaker effects on emotional IPV and controlling behaviors (only 8% detected them).

From violence to social effects: Ansell et al examine the societal and generational effects of unconditional cash transfers in Lesotho (Old Age Pension and Child Grants Programme) and Malawi (Social Cash Transfer Programme). Among the thought-provoking findings from 3 years of research, they argue that “… unearned transfers to young adults promote stigma and social isolation; young people want to work”, “… targeting of vulnerable households is based on false assumptions about [stable] households [who are instead fluid]”, and “… targeting the elderly is perceived to be fair and may contribute more to community bonds”.

Speaking of unconditional cash, Give Directly has 10 thoughtful reflections on what they got right, and what less so, over the past decade. These span design issues, communications with beneficiaries, investments in team expertise, and where to stay lean vs and what investments are worth the return. Bonus: Wang et al replicated the Give Directly evaluation by Haushofer and Shapiro and found that “… results are consistent with the findings published in the original study” (h/t Dave Evans). Double bonus: Kidd et al have a working paper on disability-sensitive social protection in Zambia. Triple bonus: in Uganda, Mejia-Mantilla et al found that direct transfers are pro-poor in distribution, but are not large enough to counteract the purchasing power reductions from indirect taxes.

Implementation matters: Saieh and Petersohn examine the delivery barriers faced by ‘paperless’ Iraqi people, including how lacking an ID and civil registration bars from accessing basic services. Also, Westerman shows that 80-90% of vulnerable Iraqi populations are heavily indebted. More on fragile contexts: ACF and Care released an evaluation of their multi-purpose cash grant project in Yemen (looking at gender, efficiency, sustainability, and other dimensions), while Alam has a feasibility study on cash and voucher assistance in Cameroon (and a selfie on the paper’s cover).

What’s new in food security? An article by Marivoet et al describes a typology to identify food security priority areas and target interventions using limited data in DRC. The typology classifies interventions based on location and magnitude of nutrition constraints using four indicators: agricultural potential, availability, access, and utilization (and btw, Haddad reflects on what does food system transformation mean). Other ways of mapping… with Skoufias et al examining how Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) nightlights were used to model damage caused by natural disasters in Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

From food to nutrition the leap is natural: Bernard et al examined the effects of long-term weekly iron supplementation on malaria and genital tract infections in pregnant and non-pregnant women in Burkina Faso. They found that long-term iron supplementation leads to excess preterm births in the malaria endemic area, especially during the malaria transmission season.

And from nutrition to health: an article by Banerjee and Maharaj finds that 2 out 1000 children die as infants in India from heat during pregnancy. Precious work by health workers moderates this temperature-infant mortality relationship (but NREGA public works do not so).

Since I mentioned health… using 10 weeks of high-frequency labor market data collected in urban Ghana, a paper by Health et al documents that men are 9 percentage points more likely to work in weeks in which another worker in the household is unexpectedly ill. Still on cities: Goudet et al reviewed 15 studies in slums and periurban areas to determine nutritional interventions that can prevent stunting. While nutrient supplementation for mothers had no effect on birth weight and length, maternal education interventions seemed to improve the latter. BTW, Jedwab et al show that mega-cities with higher dependency ratios, that is, with more children and/or seniors per working-age adult, grow significantly slower.

Jobs and mobility! Is the Egyptian economy creating good jobs? Short answer is ‘no’ according to a note by Assaad reviewing the country’s performance over 1998-2018 (h/t Shanta Devarajan). Lee et al show that massive repatriations of 400,000 Mexicans from the US during the Great Depression reduced employment of locals; Abramitzky et al found that in the US, children of immigrants have better upward mobility than the local-born; and Collins and Zimran argue that such finding applied to previous periods, not much to recent times.

And lets round up with some big-picture development pieces: Nayyar has an insightful blog on how did Asia’s economic transformation over the half century happen, while Gandhi’s blog discusses the growing arrears in a range of African countries.


Ugo Gentilini is from the World Bank’s Social Protection & Jobs global practice. The Social Protection Links newsletter, issued every Friday, distills and discusses a selection of curated resources on the topic, from academic articles to podcasts. The blog is republished on socialprotection.org each week, offering knowledge on social protection to helps you stay on top of it — succinctly, regularly and frequently. Previous editions can be found here.

To sign up to the newsletter or share materials, you can contact Ugo by email ([email protected]), Twitter (@ugentilini) or LinkedIn.

Social Protection Programmes: 
  • Social assistance
    • Social transfers
      • Cash transfers
        • Unconditional cash transfers
      • In kind transfers
    • Social support services
Social Protection Topics: 
  • Benefits level
  • Financing social protection
  • Governance
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Political economy
  • Social protection systems
  • Universal Social Protection
Cross-Cutting Areas: 
  • Food and nutritional security
  • Growth
  • Health
  • Human capital
  • Inequality
  • Labour market
  • Poverty
  • Global
  • Global
The views presented here are the author's and not socialprotection.org's