How cash transfers support vulnerable populations

December 2017

PEP projects from Nigeria, Argentina, and Serbia analyze how cash transfers can reduce poverty and improve well-being.

Multiple developing country governments have developed cash transfer schemes, both conditional and unconditional, as a means of offering social protection. As the resources available for social protection programs in developing countries tend to be limited, coverage and entitlements are critical policy issues. 

PAGE projects in NigeriaArgentina, and Serbia investigated how cash transfer schemes can be adapted to provide social protection to vulnerable populations in their respective countries and contexts. The findings from all the studies indicate that cash transfers can successfully reduce poverty and increase well-being.

Supporting vulnerable populations

In Argentina, despite fears that cash transfers would encourage beneficiaries to stop looking for work, the findings indicate the opposite, with adult men from beneficiary households becoming more likely to be employed.

A non-contributory cash transfer scheme for elderly citizens living in poor households in Nigeria was found to significantly improve their well-being and that of their households.

Similarly, the researchers in Serbia found that cash transfers that take account of revenues from informal work can improve the targeting and coverage of the social protection scheme and could lead to a reduction in child poverty by up to 1.6 percentage points.


This article is the sixth in a series presenting general conclusions and findings drawn from PAGE projects across the globe, highlighting a list of specific themes that have emerged as particular trends from the research teams’ perspectives following the evaluation of their countries’ priority issues.

See also: 
Introducing a minimum wage can improve well-being
Why youth become entrepreneurs
Supporting female entrepreneurship to reduce poverty
How migration and remittances affect welfare and employment at home
Managing the mining industry to help reduce poverty
Social protection for the informal sector


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