Evidence on how cash transfers can reduce poverty remains a hot topic in both development and relief circles. Some development agencies have put cash transfers at the centre of their social protection strategies. However, cash transfers are far from a panacea, and questions around the appropriateness and feasibility of cash transfers in different contexts are important and urgent.
This paper is one of three commissioned studies on cost affordability and political economy of cash transfers – part of ODI's research study (2006–2009) Cash transfers and their role in social protection. The study aims to compare cash with other forms of transfers, identifying where cash transfers may be preferable, the preconditions for cash transfers to work well and how they may best be targeted and sequenced with other initiatives. The study explores a number of issues of interest to donors and governments, including which forms of targeting and delivery mechanisms are most appropriate. This project is co-funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).