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Give money to the poor?

12 Nov 2013 update

Listen to the follow up story citing research examining the impact, including discussions with Poverty Action Lab researchers and Chris Blattman.


This question comes up more and more often. The FII strategy was the first time I heard of the approach. A recent NPR story HERE examines an initiative called GiveDirectly in Kenya. As most of these stories go, people tend to spend money on things they really need, e.g., roofs. The approach has serious implications for social work/social services.

Methodological note. If you listen to the story you’ll here a clever interview strategy: the reporters, worried about a social desirability bias in the responses when asking people how they themselves spent money, began to ask people what their neighbors spent money on. Not surprisingly, the results were not as positive.

single most important slide I’ve seen in a while

Much ink has been spilled debated the relative importance of class v. race in shaping the later life outcomes. I’ve certainly argued with good friends and colleagues ad nauseam on this (h/t Dayna Minatodani and Susan Nakaoka). In this slide we see engagement gaps, reported by teachers. The differences are largest for low SES children compared to higher SES children, much lower than race. This certainly doesn’t resolve the debate, but adds some weight to the class argument. SCPI.1and5GradeGaps

Recent links

Recent poverty / development links

  • new research on conditional cash transfers: Barham, T., Macours, K., & Maluccio, J. A. (2013). Boys’ Cognitive Skill Formation and Physical Growth: Long-Term Experimental Evidence on Critical Ages for Early Childhood Interventions. American Economic Review, 103(3), 467–471. doi:10.1257/aer.103.3.467
  • A very good example of a call for proposals for systematic review research, from 3ie.
  • This book list may be of interest to many student Routledge Explorations in Development Studies
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