I once read a paper on cash transfers in Uganda and the results were very surprising. A test for reduction in poverty was key to the study but there were unintended consequences, magnitudes varying according to the randomization of the experiments. This study noted insignificant or no increase in child enrollment as women started own businesses despite an increase in incomes as reported by participants.
-these studies tend to ignore social protection and household insurance strategies. Selected participants often face jealousy from others and loose other important aspects of social protection in the village, e.g joint childcare and rearing forcing domestic child labor, reduced school attendance, reduced enrollment in some cases and reduced child health seeking behavior- more sick children as mothers must optimize their labor between their household activities, social insurance and the new business. These effects are not being tracked well for example:
- kin or neighbor conflicts among those who get cash transfers and those who dont, based on the perception that others are being favored despite minor cut off selection creteria differences.
- reduction in external informal consumption smoothing sources once they are seen to have got a windfall, being abandoned by others unless they do their own transfers to keep their existing strategies and reputation-their informal credit rating is messed up and they must build new networks.
- how easy is it to ignore transfers with those who may have kept them afloat at some point in time
If I was in the field out there or have all these data I would be looking at these other effects. Over all poverty reduction strategy seem to be sensitive to these transfers as they have always been among the poor, and there are also many cases where little transfers among kin have uplifted some generations through schooling and training. Public transfers, exotic vouchers will have to last longer after destroying kin and private social markets.