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The impact of employment guarantee schemes and cash transfers on the poor

Research reports

Written by Jessica Hagen-Zanker, Anna McCord, Rebecca Holmes

This report and short summary present the findings of a systematic review which examines the quantitative evidence currently available on the impact of cash transfers and employment guarantee schemes on the income and expenditure of participating households. This review adopted a systematic review approach to the identification and retrieval of published and unpublished documents relating to the impact of both types of programmes on the poor, and the analysis of the quantitative evidence relating to impacts on income, expenditure and poverty indices therein.

It was not feasible to carry out a meta-analysis of data on programme impact, drawing general conclusions about the impact of the two interventions on poverty based on the research reviewed, due to the diversity of intervention design, populations and impacts assessed, the inconsistency of the methodological approaches adopted, and the limited data on statistical significance and incidence.

The key finding of the study is the need for greater rigour and increased consistency in the methodological approaches adopted for quantitative programme analysis. This will enable more meaningful cross-programme comparison and enable quantitative research to play a more central role in informing policy choice.

Jessica Hagen-Zanker; Anna McCord; Rebecca Holmes