Cash transfers to Syrian refugees: The evaluation

Fine, cash transfers work okay in Kenyan villages, but should the world use them in wars and refugee crises? Apparently yes.

In the first scientifically rigorous evaluation of emergency cash for refugees, the International Rescue Committee unveiled striking findings based on research in partnership with Daniel Masterson of Yale University and Christian Lehmann of the University of Brasilia, focused on the Syria crisis, specifically looking at Lebanon.

The results are consistent with what we know about the impact of money distribution in more stable, albeit poor, settings: it does not create disincentives to work, it enables people to study and spend money on things that improve their lives; and it doesn’t cause them to go out and squander it on drugs, alcohol or gambling.

…We found that households receiving cash assistance were half as likely to send their children out to work. Cash also increased access to education, and there is evidence of reduced tensions within the household and between the refugee and host community.

Op-ed and full report.

The authors (who are close colleagues) are presenting in London tomorrow (Oct 2). Info here. RSVP here.

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