Social Protection

Productive impacts of the Malawi Social Cash Transfer Scheme (Journal of Development Effectiveness, Volume 4, Issue 1, 2012)

Resource Type: Publication
Published: 05/03/2012

Journal of Development Effectiveness
Vol. 4, No. 1, March 2012, 50–77

From protection to production: productive impacts of the Malawi Social Cash Transfer scheme
Katia Covarrubiasa*, Benjamin Davisa and Paul Winters

The Malawi Social Cash Transfer (SCT) scheme is part of a wave of social protection programmes providing cash to poor households in order to reduce poverty and hunger and promote child education and health. This paper looks beyond the protective function of such programmes, analysing their productive impacts. Taking advantage of an experimental impact evaluation design, we find the SCT generates agricultural asset investments, reduces adult participation in low skilled labour, and limits child labour outside the home while increasing child involvement in household farm activities. The paper dispels the notion that cash support to ultra poor households in Malawi is charity or welfare, and provides evidence of its economic development impacts. Keywords: cash transfers; impact evaluation; income-generating activities; Malawi