So Kubota, Koichiro Onishi, Yuta Toyama, 27 January 2021

To mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 economic recession, many countries provided financial support to individual households. This column examines a Japanese entitlement programme that distributed a fixed and sizable cash sum to all residents during the crisis. Using data from 2.8 million anonymised bank transactions and a natural experimental design, the authors suggest that payments from the programme resulted in significant spending responses, particularly from households that suffered liquidity constraints and income loss in 2020. The column also maps the implications of counterfactual targeting policies.

Verónica Escudero, Hannah Liepmann, 19 September 2020

Active labour market policies have the potential to improve workers’ employability, but a key challenge in developing and emerging countries is that without income support to cover their basic needs, many workers simply cannot afford to participate in such policies. This column examines the examples of Uruguay and Mauritius and finds that approaches combining both active labour market policies and income support are more effective in improving the labour market perspectives of vulnerable workers than the same policies implemented in isolation. However, the success of integrated policies clearly depends on design and implementation characteristics.

Michèle Tertilt, 08 November 2019

Michèle Tertilt asks whether more control over finances in the hands of women leads to more economic prosperity and progress.

Friedrich Heinemann, Stefani Weiss, 26 October 2018

The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy for the decade ahead is beginning to take shape. This column argues that, as it stands, the policy fails to ensure public goods provision for the EU at large, and the lack of clarity on its payment terms are a concession to pressure from farmers’ lobbies. Without significant changes in the final stages of negotiation, the CAP could become an enormous waste of resources while providing little or no ‘European added value’.

Emilia Simeonova, Randall Akee, John Holbein, William E. Copeland, E. Jane Costello, 15 July 2018

Political scientists have shown conclusively, at least in the US, that richer people vote more, which has troubling implications. Using data from a government cash transfer programme, this column shows that children who grew up in households in the bottom half of the income distribution that received extra income were more likely to vote as adults compared to their counterparts who did not receive the transfers. The results suggest that efforts to reduce income inequality may have the unexpected side effect of reducing gaps in civic participation.

Susan W. Parker, Tom Vogl, 30 June 2018

The short-term success of cash transfers as a form of direct aid has been well recognised in recent research. This column combines Mexican census data with data on a major conditional cash transfer programme to analyse the longer-term effects on the subsequent generation. It finds that such programmes had important positive effects on education and labour market outcomes for men and women, suggesting conditional transfer programmes are successful in raising the children of recipients out of poverty.

Ingvild Almås, Alex Armand, Orazio Attanasio, Pedro Carneiro, 26 March 2016

Most conditional cash transfer programmes around the world target women as the recipients of transfers as a means of empowering them and promoting gender equality. However, the mechanisms at work are poorly understood and empowerment is not well defined or measured. This column discusses a new measure of female empowerment in the household within the context of a national cash transfer programme in Macedonia. Whereas conventional survey questions about power and decision-making don’t reveal any empowerment effects of the programme, this new measure reveals a positive effect.


CEPR Policy Research