Unconditional Cash Transfer and Poverty Alleviation in Pakistan: BISP’s Impact on Households’ Socioeconomic Wellbeing

Pakistan, having a population of near to 220 million, has one fourth of its population living below the poverty line and 17% being food insecure. Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) was initiated in 2008 with the objective of consumption smoothening, poverty alleviation and women empowerment. The programme was, and still is, unique in terms of resources, coverage and targeting. Given the resources dedicated to the programme (see box below), it is important to analyse where the BISP stands after 12 years of its initiation. This Policy Viewpoint does so by analysing the socioeconomic wellbeing of the households that have been receiving cash assistance for 9 years (2011 to 2019). Given the mandate of the Programme one would expect an improvement in their socioeconomic indicators. To see if this has actually happened, we measure the impact of BISP’s cash transfer on various factors of the recipient households’ socioeconomic condition.