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A history of influencing – Cash in the News

This week, Alan Krueger announced that he will be joining the research team for GiveDirectly’s basic income pilot. Dr. Krueger is the former Chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and a professor at Princeton. As Max Ghenis remarked, “Krueger’s research has a history of influencing public policy.” In other exciting cash-policy news, the United States Congress passed a bill yesterday that authorizes the President to send food assistance directly as cash.


GIVEDIRECTLY IN THE NEWS AND BLOGS

1. Can Science Save Development Aid?
PS Mag, Jacob Kushner, July 6, 2016
Farmers I met who had received the cash showed me new tin roofs over their homes, pigs they were raising, electrical inverters they use to charge up neighbors’ phones for a fee — all purchased with cash from GiveDirectly. But unlike many aid interventions, the evidence that this worked is not merely anecdotal; not just some photograph of a smiling family on the charity’s website. Rather, it comes from a rigorous study of the program, which compared nearly 500 of the families that received cash to nearly 500 that did not.

2. Alan Krueger, former Chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and professor at Princeton, is joining the research team for GiveDirectly’s universal basic income pilot
Reddit, Max Ghenis, July 6, 2016
Krueger’s research has a history of influencing public policy, notably his 1994 paper with David Card which was one of the first to find “no indication that the rise in the minimum wage reduced employment.” This has gone on to become a cornerstone piece of evidence cited by the pro-minimum-wage coalition. Regardless of your stance on minimum wage, Krueger will bring some needed visibility to GiveDirectly’s basic income research.

3. What’s So Special About GiveDirectly’s Basic Income Pilot
Giving What We Can blog, Marinella Capriati, July 2, 2016
Give Directly has decided to test a universal basic income intervention in Kenya: they’re planning to provide about 6,000 people with unconditional transfers for at least 10 years, transferring money to all residents of the villages which will be targeted by the intervention. This has received a lot of attention from the media, with the trial being mentioned, among others, on Slate, Vox, The Independent and Der Spiegel.

CASH TRANSFER NEWS

4. S.1252 – Global Food Security Act of 2016 (passed Congress)
The U.S. Congress, July 7, 2016
… the President is authorized to make available emergency food assistance, including in the form of funds, transfers, vouchers, and agricultural commodities (including products derived from agricultural commodities) acquired through local or regional procurement, to meet emergency food needs arising from manmade and natural disasters.

5. Should cash transfers be systematically paid to mothers?
World Bank blog, Damien de Walque, July 7, 2016
However, a systematic review by Yoong, Rabinovich and Diepeveen of the role of the recipient’s gender who receives cash transfers concluded that “a substantive body of research that carefully considers issues of selection and attribution is still a crucial missing part of developing gender-mainstreaming in transfer programs” and that given the growing popularity and importance of cash transfers as a poverty alleviation tool across the developing world, it was important to develop the evidence base.

6. The problem is bigger than payday loans
The Washington Post, Nathan Fiala, July 1, 2016
Researchers have published countless articles on how to address these issues, but we don’t have a clear solution — if it was that easy to solve poverty, it would be over by now. That said, recent solutions do show promise: guaranteed minimum income programs and cash grant programs such as Prospera (formerly Oportunidades) from Mexico, which gives families direct cash payments in exchange for school attendance and health clinic visits.

EFFECTIVE ALTRUISM

7. ​S’pore group out to get biggest impact for charity donations
The Straits Times, Janice Heng, July 6, 2016
“An average of 16,000 children under the age of five die every day largely from poverty-related causes,” noted Ms Wanyi Zeng, 29. She is the co-founder of Effective Altruism Singapore, part of a global “effective altruism” movement which takes a hard-headed approach to being big-hearted. “Effective altruism is guided by reason and global empathy,” said Ms Zeng. It is finding out where your charitable dollar can have the biggest impact, even if that is overseas.

BASIC INCOME

8. Could a Universal Basic Income Really Work?
The Fiscal Times, Suman Bhattacharyya, July 6, 2016
The concept has attracted an unlikely coalition of supporters on the right and the left. Some conservatives like it because it could replace the existing “welfare state” and the immense cost of running several complementary and overlapping government assistance programs. Liberals see it as a way of narrowing the gap between the rich and poor, uplifting the country’s poorest citizens through a guaranteed social safety net.
 
9. The case for free money
Tech Insider, Chris Weller, July 6, 2016
Hillary Clinton says she isn’t prepared to defend a system of government in which people receive monthly checks, no strings attached, but her reasons for opposition may be misguided.

10. When Technology Eliminates Jobs, We’ll Want a Basic Income
Inverse, Nickolaus Hines, July 5, 2016
Automation is going to make universal basic income a necessity sooner rather than later, a White House panel discussed today. Technology entrepreneur and Zipcar founder Robin Chase and authorMartin Ford (Rise of the Robots) spoke today during a Facebook Live discussion with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. “We need to start thinking about universal basic income,” Chase said, referring to the concept of a base-level of income each person would get just for being alive. “If people had that platform, that basic minimum, we could be tapping this much larger number of people to do things that can’t be automated,” like relational and social problems on the community level.