Cash transfers are direct payments, typically by governments or nonprofits, made to eligible groups of people.
Three main types of cash transfer programs have been studied: conditional cash transfers (CCTs), unconditional cash transfers (UCTs), and business grant programs.
GiveWell considers cash transfers to have the strongest track record of any non-health intervention, and estimates cash transfer programs to be in the same range of cost-effectiveness as their other priority programs (GiveWell 2018). As they acknowledge, this assessment is highly sensitive to certain empirical and moral assumptions, particularly concerning the investment returns to cash transfers and the relative value of averting child mortality vis-à-vis improving adult income.
Carter, Samantha (2019) Are cash transfers the best policy option?, Effective Altruism Global, October 20.
Devereux, Stephen (2002) Social protection for the poor: lessons from recent international experience, working paper no. 142, Institute of Development Studies.
Evans, David K. & Anna Popova (2017) Cash transfers and temptation goods, Economic Development and Cultural Change, vol. 65, pp. 189–221.
Fiszbein, Ariel & Norbert Schady (2009) Conditional Cash Transfers: Reducing Present and Future Poverty, Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.
GiveWell (2012) Cash transfers, GiveWell, December.
Molina Millán, Teresa et al. (2019) Long-term impacts of conditional cash transfers: review of the evidence, The World Bank Research Observer, vol. 34, pp. 119–159.
Pega, Frank et al. (2017) Unconditional cash transfers for reducing poverty and vulnerabilities: effect on use of health services and health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, vol. 11, pp. 1–137.