The Psychology of Poverty: A Replication Based on Zimbabwe's Harmonised Social Cash Transfer Programme

We perform a scientific replication of a recent paper in this journal that reports evidence from Malawi that an unconditional cash transfer programme affects psychological states, such as life satisfaction and subjective well-being, as well as economic decisions involving intertemporal choice. Using data from Zimbabwe, we find similar results. Together, these two studies are the first from outside a laboratory setting that support the idea that poverty can have psychological effects that in turn influence intertemporal choice in a way that perpetuates poverty. These results, if found to hold in diverse settings, open up the policy space for a broader range of interventions that could reduce the number of people living in poverty. As this is a relatively new idea in economics with important policy implications, replicating these results in other settings is important before they can be widely generalised.