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  • Reply to: Do the Poor Waste Transfers on Booze and Cigarettes? No   1 day 10 hours ago

    I don't know of this study. For me the best money on this topic is Just Give Money to the Poor that makes the case for unconditional cash transfers so that recipients can make their own decisions on how to use their money. For both conditional and non -conditional cash transfer programs there is considerable evidence of positive impact - now that recipients have sufficient cash to attend to their most urgent needs. I am sure that some money is wasted - spent on booze and cigarettes but given the low cost of these programs and the benefits including letting recipients choose the benefits far exceed the potential misuse of the funds by a small minority. With that said savings groups are an even lower cost development strategy given that the poor mobilize their own savings lend it to each other and divvy up the savings plus interest, fines, etc. The only cost is training the group that soon operate autonomously. See my upcoming book, In Their Own Hands: How Savings Groups are Revolutionizing development. Assuming a person receives even a $10 CCT for 5 years the total cost would be $600 plus administrative overhead. For the savings group training the total training cost is about $20 per saving group member. Working through Fundacion Capital we will be introducing savings groups through CCTs in the Dominican Republic combining the two approaches.




  • Reply to: Do the Poor Waste Transfers on Booze and Cigarettes? No   1 day 11 hours ago
    Is this study available? We would be very interested to review it for potential inclusion in the updated version of the paper! Please let me know if there is a way for me to find it.

    I am wary of deriving statistical levels from focus groups, as -- in the reports we read on focus groups -- we saw significant evidence of people reporting on other households, for example, where they wouldn't necessarily know, or where they aren't breaking down their total use of resources, just highlighting this one area.

    I also don't understand how, where the alcohol is made from local resources and spending is negligible, this consumption is a result of the transfers. Or is that just a general complaint of the women in the group, that the men drink a lot, not necessarily related to the transfers?

    That said, the fact that this is not a problem in ANY of the countries we studies does not rule out with certainty that it couldn't be a problem in some other context. But the evidence we HAVE seen leads me to have a prior belief that this isn't USUALLY a problem.
  • Reply to: Do the Poor Waste Transfers on Booze and Cigarettes? No   1 day 11 hours ago
    Thanks for this comment. In our article, we also found a number of reports of increases via anecdotes. While we cannot rule out that these are the "truth" and the the quantitative reports are all underreports, we argue that these anecdotal reports are highly subject to saliency bias: A few examples can make people believe that something is very common practice.
  • Reply to: Checking survey quality with Benford's law   1 day 22 hours ago
    your point on faking vs rounding is spot on.    Judge and Schechter make this point in their paper -- Benford is useful to check for both faking (identifying deviant data across enumerators on the same variable) and for questions which attract a less than precise answer (looking at variables which stand out in a dataset for all enumerators). 
  • Reply to: Blog links July 18: growth mindsets, empowerment, whether to cluster errors, education lessons and more…   2 days 3 hours ago

    South Africa is certainly one of the countries attempting to move onto a more aggressive growth trajectory. The engagement of an international panel of experts
    has shown general agreement with Government’s ASGISA policy that such a trajectory would involve adjusting production profiles in favor of more dynamic tradables, soaking up the vast pool of unemployed—including discouraged new entrants to the labor pool, and generally opening the economy to emerging firms