Designing public works programmes and cash transfers to promote growth and mitigate violence

This report presents a short review of the evidence on designing Public Works Programmes (PWPs) and cash transfer programmes to promote economic growth and mitigate the risks of violent conflict. Overall, despite of the increasing interest in the productive roles of PWPs and cash transfers and their potential to mitigate the risk of violent conflict, the body of evidence is still weak. Although it is often claimed that PWPs can promote growth, evidence to support these claims is scarce. The design of these programmes as well as their evaluation have focused on the short term poverty reduction / consumption smoothing effects, rather than on the productivity gains and wider growth impacts. The theoretical causal links by which PWPs could potentially promote growth do exist, although programmes have not exploited them sufficiently and their effects still need to be proved.