The Digitization of Cash Assistance During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Colombia

New research has shown that cash assistance has the power to help recipients navigate the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdowns. In Colombia, new cash transfer programs were rolled out to millions of beneficiaries in record time, thanks to mobile money and other digital channels which allowed the government to quickly distribute aid.

This webinar will present findings from one of the first randomized evaluations of a digital cash transfer program during the pandemic, the case of the VAT Compensation program in Colombia. This research explores the impacts of cash transfers on a range of outcomes such as financial health, food access and security, and political attitudes. Moreover, we will present data on the impact of digitization on beneficiary behavior during quarantine, barriers to new technology adoption by beneficiaries, and implications for the digitization of future cash transfer programs. 


  • Juliana Londoño-Vélez, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Pablo Querubín, Associate Professor of Politics and Economics, New York University
  • Olga Lucia Romero, Director of Monitoring and Evaluation of Public Policies, National Planning Department, Government of Colombia


  • Rebecca Rouse, Director, Financial Inclusion Program, Innovations for Poverty Action