For one-time large grant programs, we typically send each recipient household roughly US$1,000, which is around one year’s expenditure for the average household and around US$200 per family member for the average family of 5.

There is nothing magical about this amount, but it reflects a few factors.

  • First, it is fair in the sense that US$1,000 is the amount the average recipient household would need to invest in order to raise its income to the level of its ineligible neighbors.
  • Second, it reflects existing evidence, in the sense that US$1,000 is in the ballpark of the total amounts delivered by other programs that have been studied extensively (with the main difference that these programs transfer money over longer time periods).

To put US$1,000 in context, in a typical setting where we work, this would buy you 5.5 years of secondary schooling, 5.2 years of basic food requirements for one adult, 1.2 acres of land, or metal roofs for 4 houses.

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