Myth-busting common misperceptions about unconditional cash transfers

This working paper by UNICEF Office of Research, Innocenti, uses robust evidence from large national social protection impact evaluations to disprove six erroneous but commonly held views regarding unconditional cash transfers in sub-Saharan Africa. The paper summarizes evidence around six common perceptions associated with cash transfer programmes, in resource-poor settings:

  1. Induce higher spending on alcohol or tobacco;
  2. Are fully consumed (rather than invested);
  3. Create dependency (reduce participation in productive work);
  4. Increase fertility;
  5. lead to negative community-level economic impacts (including price distortion and inflation), and
  6. are fiscally unsustainable.

The paper presents evidence refuting each of these claims, concluding that these perceptions are myths, and that they present a distorted picture of the potential benefits of these programmes.

Click here to download the working paper