Give cash to the poor, and they’ll squander it? This Nobel laureate has a different opinion

Give cash to the poor, and they’ll squander it? This Nobel laureate has a different opinion

In most contexts, it is “much better, less difficult, much faster to give money to people” in order to give them food, the girl told In Discussion.

“So why not after that give them the money — which is much easier to organise, has less problem, has less procurement problems — and thus make more resources available for everyone? Plus (trust) a little bit (more) that people do what’s right for themselves. ”


Duflo’s research has furthermore added to knowledge about boosting immunisation among the poor.

Depending on a randomised controlled study in countryside Rajasthan, she plus her collaborators found that offering moderate incentives to families in poor places could increase immunisation uptake significantly.

Even though vaccination benefits individuals and the ones around them, individuals are liable to procrastinate because it “isn’t fixing an illness you already have; it’s preventing something through happening” in upcoming, she said.

But if people receive something they could use immediately, like lentils or mobile phone minutes, it makes on with the “cost” of the effort to get vaccinated.

This kind of incentives are “not going to convince you if you don’t want to do this for ideological reasons, because it’s a very small gift”, the girl noted.

“It doesn’t make view about vaccination fundamentally. But if you’re someone — (like) many people in creating countries — whom already thinks that will ‘yes, it’s great to get vaccinated, and I should get it designed for my children’, after that it’s going to motivate you to do it today rather than to wait. ”

She and Banerjee are co-founders of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-Pal), a research centre whose network of affiliated professors round the world conduct randomised impact evaluations to test and improve the effectiveness of social programmes.

Among other things, J-Pal’s research has shown that people do not necessarily need to pay for something in order to value it.   One such research, by development economist Pascaline Dupas, can be on bed nets that protect individuals against malaria-spreading mosquitoes.