GiveDirectly’s co-founders Michael Faye and Paul Niehaus, along with our senior partnerships manager Joanna Macrae, defended cash transfers this week in Newsweek. They argued why cash transfers provide excellent value-for-money for taxpayers. 


1. Data-driven charity
John D. Cook blog, Paul Niehaus, February 5, 2017
PN: GiveDirectly is the first nonprofit that lets individual donors like you and me send money directly to the extreme poor. And that’s it—we don’t buy them things we think they need, or tell them what they should be doing, or how they should be doing it. Michael Faye and I co-founded GD, along with Jeremy Shapiro and Rohit Wanchoo, because on net we felt (and still feel) the poor have a stronger track record putting money to use than most of the intermediaries and experts who want to spend it for them.

Newsweek, Michael Faye, Paul Niehaus, and Joanna Macrae, February 2, 2017
No other development intervention can demonstrate such a consistently high level of impact across such a wide range of outcomes. For example, GiveDirectly’s cash programs in Kenya have helped poor people to increase their assets by 58 percent, while at the same time delivering a 42 percent reduction in the number of days children go to bed hungry. Families receiving the transfers also experienced “a sizeable effect on psychological wellbeing; in particular… [an] increase in happiness…life satisfaction…and a significant reduction in depression (all measured by psychological questionnaires).”

3. India says it’s time to seriously consider universal basic income
Humanosphere, Joanne Lu, February 1, 2017
In Kenya, GiveDirectly is organizing a 12-year randomized control trial in to do just that. In the meantime, it seems that many governments and organizations are eager to test it out themselves. Still, successful trial runs still do not guarantee implementation. As Haarmaan said, “the question in the end is where does the political will come from to implement it?”


4. Indian government report weighs idea of cash handouts to fight poverty
Reuters, Tommy Wilkes, January 31, 2017
Handing cash to Indians rather than providing the poor with cheap food or guaranteed jobs would nearly eradicate poverty but at a cost of 4 to 5 percent of gross domestic product, a government report said on Tuesday. Universal basic income (UBI), a radical idea that is gaining attention in countries such as Finland and France, proposes giving every citizen an income to cover their basic needs.

5. 32,000 Syrian refugees got regular cash payments for a year — and it led to huge benefits
Business Insider, Chris Weller, January 31, 2017
A new report from the Overseas Development Institute, a UK-based think tank, analyzes the impacts of cash transfers issued by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNCHR) to around 32,000 Syrian families living in Jordan (about a quarter of the country’s refugee population). Under the program, the families received between $75 and $400 at regular intervals for one year.


6. Take A Chance With Your Charity And Try A Donor Lottery
Fast CoExist, Ben Paynter, January 31, 2017
One early idea is to give to another donor-advised fund that often supports more so-called “effective altruism” causes, including more research into how the field itself can grow. (Telleen-Lawton has written a bit about that here.) Boosting the learning curve on what effective altruism methods work would seem a noble effort: The more you learn how about how to give effectively, the more those who come after you will likely do so, magnifying impacts even more.


7. Labour sets up ‘working group’ to investigate universal basic income, John McDonnell reveals
The Independent, Ashley Cowburn, February 5, 2017
In an exclusive interview with The Independent the Shadow Chancellor appeared to signal his desire to bring basic income in the party’s manifesto. The concept involves overhauling the welfare state and ditching means-tested benefits in favour of unconditional flat-rate payments to all citizens.

8. India floats the idea of a universal basic income
The Economist, February 4, 2017
Or would the annual budget, presented on February 1st, be full of giveaways ahead of a string of state elections? In the event, the budget was restrained to the point of dullness. But the government’s closely-watched “economic survey”, released the previous day, hinted at a much bigger giveaway in the works: a universal basic income (UBI) payable to every single Indian.

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