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A great upsurge – Cash in the News

From the Caribbean to the Philippines, cash transfers made it into the news this week as a way of reaching people in need. And in Canada, Senator Art Eggleton, in a letter to editor, argued forcefully for an adoption of cash transfers as a basic income, saying it would result in “a great upsurge in the living conditions of our most vulnerable.”

GIVEDIRECTLY IN THE NEWS AND BLOGS

1. Excuse me Mr. Can’t you see the children dying?
World Bank Blog, Berk Ozler, April 10, 2016
Tim Ogden, at a seminar at his alma mater, upped the ante further by promising to give GiveDirectly $1,000 if 20 of the 60 students would give up their phones for two weeks – making it a all or nothing proposition and introducing a collective action problem in the mix.

2. Does simply giving money to poorer people solve anything?
The Cusp, Josephine Parsons, April 8, 2016
A few years ago, a research project was conducted around the company GiveDirectly examining these very questions. GiveDirectly are a not-for-profit who give nice little things called ‘unconditional cash transfers’ to poverty stricken people around the world. No strings attached. This particular study tracked the people who were given money by the organisation, initially in rural villages in western Kenya and then in the slums and market areas of Liberia.

3. GiveWell research plans for 2016
GiveWell blog, Natalie, April 6, 2016
GiveDirectly: Our main goals from following GiveDirectly are to see if the quality of monitoring remains high, it is able to enroll new recipients quickly, and we can learn more about the impact of its work with partners to make cash a baseline against which other development programs are judged.

4. How much difference can one person make? (part 2a)
80000 hours, 2016
GiveDirectly has done a randomised controlled trial of their program, which found significant reductions in hunger, stress and other bad outcomes for years after the transfers are made. Most of the money is invested in assets, such as metal roofs and water equipment. GiveDirectly’s trial adds to an already substantial literature on cash-transfers, showing significant benefits.


CASH TRANSFERS AND GLOBAL POVERTY

5. Marlito and the promise of the 4Ps
Phil Star, Lila Ramos Shahani, April 11, 2016
As the government’s flagship poverty alleviation program, these conditional cash transfers invest in the country’s human capital by keeping poor children in school, giving medical assistance to them and their mothers, and extending immediate financial support to their families.

6. UN to help with rising hunger in drought-ravaged Haiti
Caribbean 360, April 11, 2016
WFP initially responded with food distributions for a two-month period to 120,000 people, but now plans to launch an emergency operation to assist 1 million people, primarily by cash transfers. Further nutrition interventions are planned to prevent a rise in acute malnutrition.

7. Direct benefit transfer to include all government schemes, payments
The Hindu Business Line, April 7, 2016
The scope of the Direct Benefit Transfer programme has been significantly widened by the government to cover third party cash transfers to various enablers of government schemes such as community workers, NGOs and self help groups.

BASIC INCOME

8. It’s time to test a basic income
The Chronicle Journal, Senator Art Eggleton, April 10, 2016
Looking at these results, and other similar examples from around the world, Canada could see not only a great upsurge in the living conditions for our most vulnerable if a basic income were employed, but we could also realize a decrease in costs.

9. Halifax basic income supporters explore poverty issues
CBC, Rachel Ward, April 9, 2016
A basic income guarantee could help bring people out of poverty and to escape a miserable existence, advocates say. They say guaranteeing a base income for all would reduce stress for low income people, cut bureaucratic red tape, lift people out of poverty and replace flawed income assistance programs.

10. The Psychological Argument for a Universal Basic Income
New America Weekly, Olivia Barrow, April 7, 2016
Many modern families face scarcity of time, scarcity of money, scarcity of affordable housing, and scarcity of jobs. With all of these things to worry about, it follows that families with few resources face compounding barriers that limit their already stretched cognitive capacity. And while California and New York’s minimum wage increases mitigate the negative psychological impacts of scarcity, more can be done to strengthen American families who face a tough labor market and scarce resources. A universal basic income (UBI) that provides a monthly cash benefit to all adults and a smaller monthly benefit to children will allow for a decent minimum standard of living for all people, regardless of work status.