We ask recipients about tension in the community in follow-up calls after they have received transfers. To date, recipients report relatively low levels of tension related to the transfers: 5% report arguments within their communities and 1% report violence or crime.

The available evidence on tension within households suggests that transfers actually reduce it substantially. Innovations for Poverty Action’s evaluation of our work found “suggestive evidence that cash transfers reduce domestic violence and increase female empowerment in both recipient households and other households in the same village” (Haushofer & Shapiro 2013).

This is consistent with what our recipients tell us in follow-up calls. It is also in line with earlier studies suggesting that conflict is driven by the hard choices that poverty forces: for example, which child should be allowed to starve. As one woman put it, “there is no peace in the family when there is no food to eat” (Slater & Mphale 2008).

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