…we propose that donor governments create a fund devoted exclusively to supporting cash transfer programs. The fund would accept competitive applications from organizations—both private and social sector—that wish to conduct transfers. It should give priority to organizations with a demonstrated track record on a set of well-defined metrics, such as cost, speed, and targeting accuracy. And it should prioritize organizations that propose to conduct randomized impact evaluations of cash transfers—and especially evaluations that would fill a gap in our understanding about their impact, inform the design of such programs, or allow us to better compare alternative interventions with simply giving cash.
Such a fund would have two effects. For organizations that already deliver cash transfers, it would incentivize further investment in improving their systems as they compete for grants. And for organizations and individual decision-makers on the fence, uncertain about the role of cash transfers in their field, the fund would significantly reduce the cost of experimentation.