This week Elizabeth MacBride argued in Quartz that humanitarian aid ought to be given to refugees in the form of cash transfers. “We didn’t really test things until about a decade ago in development,” said our own Paul Niehaus in the article, “we just now have the experimental evidence that people aren’t going to blow it all.” In other news, Jeremey Corbyn, the head of Great Britain’s Labor Party, announced this week that key members of the Labor Party have been considering the possibilities of a universal basic income, and that he himself supports the idea.


1. The Surprisingly Simple Economic Case for Giving Refugees Cash, Not Stuff
Quartz, Elizabeth Macbride, August 7, 2016
“We didn’t really test things until about a decade ago in development,” said economist Paul Niehaus. He co-founded Segovia and the charity GiveDirectly, which will funnel $45 million in cash to world’s poor this year. “We just now have the experimental evidence that people aren’t going to blow it all.

2.  What is (and isn’t) in the new ODI review of cash evidence?
GiveDirectly blog, Paul Niehaus, August 5, 2016
The Overseas Development Institute has just released a systematic review of the evidence on cash transfers, which is timely as I think we all felt that FCDO’s 2011 review had probably passed its sell-by date.


3. Our Not-So-Dirty Little Secret—and What Cash Has to do With It
Thomson Reuters Foundation, Amber Peterman, August 5, 2016
The study offers an example of how tackling poverty (via transfers) has potential to affect outcomes like partner violence, without making it an explicit objective. The implications are significant. The notion of giving poor households cash to invest how they see fit has become an increasingly popular anti-poverty strategy worldwide. In 2015, approximately 718 million people in 130 countries globally are covered by some type of cash transfer.

4. With EU Support, WFP Doubles Number of Refugee Camps Supported With Cash in Ethiopia
All Africa, August 4, 2016
WFP intends to further scale up its cash distributions after the impact of El Niño subsides, when food prices are expected to decrease in local markets used by the refugees. WFP plans to introduce cash transfers in camps in the Gambella and Afar regions, in support of South Sudanese and Eritrean refugees.

5. Cash Handouts are The Best Way to Boost British Growth, Say Economists
The Guardian, Larry Elliot, August 4, 2016
Direct cash handouts to households would be a better way of boosting Britain’s flagging economy than the interest-rate cuts expected from the Bank of England on Thursday, according to a group of progressive economists.

6. Economists Call for Bank of England Cash Handouts to Prop Up Economy
City AM, Jake Cordell August 4, 2016
In a letter to the Guardian ahead of the Bank of England’s crunch meeting today, economists from a number of universities and think tanks across the UK, Europe and the US, claim the Bank’s unorthodox, ultra-low rates policy has failed and it is time to unleash more radical options.


7. ​Cause Prioritization Tool
Effective Altruism, August 7, 2016
Use our Cause Prioritisation Tool to explore how different value judgements and empirical questions can lead you to working on different cause areas.


8. Jeremy Corbyn Looking At ‘Universal Basic Income’; Says House Price Fall Could Help Tackle Housing Crisis
The Huffington Post, Paul Waugh, August 8, 2016
In an interview with HuffPost UK, the Labour leader said that the policy would be considered along with others as part of a way to ‘bring about a more just and more equal society’.

9. Universal Basic Income: Jeremy Corbyn Considering Backing Radical Reforms
The Independant, Siobhan Fenton, August 7, 2016
The Labour leader has spoken of his support for the measure, which would see every person in the UK given a minimum monthly financial sum. The sum would be designed to give everyone a basic minimum standard of living including those who are out of work, with people who are working earning their salary in addition to the sum. While once seen as a radical reform, the idea is gaining traction internationally and Norway and Ontario in Canada are to pilot schemes to test it.

10. Black Lives Matter’s First Official Platform Endorses Universal Basic Income
Tech Insider, Chris Weller, August 3, 2016
The Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) has announced its first official policy platform. The economic agenda: create a system of income distribution in which people receive regular payments on top of their existing income, no strings attached.

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