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DFID Cash Transfers Evidence Paper

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Executive summary

Evidence for multiple forms of impact

Cash transfers are one of the more thoroughly researched forms of development intervention. Latin American countries that pioneered the current generation of cash transfers built in best-practice monitoring and evaluation (M&E). The association of cash transfers with high quality M&E and impact evaluation has continued as cash transfers have spread, but remains less developed in low-income countries.

While the evidence base for cash transfers is better than for many other policy areas, it is also uneven. Less is known about some instruments (public works) and outcomes in certain regions (sub-Saharan Africa). Capturing the full range of effects is challenging and variations in assessment methodology make systematic review complex. It is possible to distinguish a hierarchy of knowledge, with declining robustness of evidence for some forms of impact relative to others.