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Publication Details

Just Give Money to the Poor

The development revolution from the South

Joseph Hanlon
Armando Barrientos
David Hulme


This book draws on this rapidly growing pool of research to highlight the potential and limitations of cash transfers to transform the lives of people in poverty in developing countries. There is quite a broad consensus that many cash transfers have proved remarkably successful, and this has led to at least 30 other developing countries to experiment with giving money to people directly – through ?cash transfer programmes.

Four conclusions come out repeatedly: these programmes are affordable, recipients use the money well and do not waste it, cash grants are an efficient way to directly reduce current poverty, and they have the potential to prevent future poverty by facilitating economic growth and promoting human development. But two areas remain the subject of intense debate – targeting and conditions. Should smaller grants be given to many people or larger grants to a few? Should recipients be asked to satisfy conditions, such as sending their children to school or doing voluntary labour? Important challenges remain regarding the financing and delivery of these programmes, especially in low income countries. And transfer programmes remain controversial, with some still sceptical about their ability to reduce long term poverty. These issues, too, are discussed in this book. 

This book is not available to download online, but is available to buy from Kumarian Press.

Publication Type(s)



social protection cash transfers


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