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Title: Essays on the scale-up of extensions to cash transfers
Author: Sedlmayr, Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 7971 702X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis contributes to the scientific and policy debate surrounding the so-called graduation approach - an integrated development intervention that directly targets the poorest households in low-income countries and provides them with a combination of assets at no cost. Though the components vary, they always involve transfers (of a productive and/or monetary asset) alongside extended training and coaching activities (intended to cultivate some intangible asset). Randomized evaluations of the graduation approach have demonstrated poverty reduction across contexts and in the long run. This has attracted policy attention, as training and coaching interventions could be expanded in widespread social protection schemes that already identify low-income households and provide them with cash transfers. The case for scaling up these intangible extensions could be strengthened through a better understanding of whether and why the integrated approach is more cost-effective than its constituent components, such as transfers alone. Gaps also remain in the science of implementation. Past evaluations have been conducted mainly in nonprofit pilot settings and may not be predictive of the at-scale effects that will materialize in the institutional contexts of governments. Anticipating that the fidelity and impact of the intangible extensions will tend to suffer with scale, we evaluate two innovations to protect implementation quality. One involves the attempt to identify the most critical ingredients: all else equal, a simpler approach will be more scalable. The other innovation involves the design of the funding agreements: when funders pay implementers as a function of demonstrated impact, scale-up efforts will tend to accelerate where the critical success factors happen to be in place. We add to recent evidence underlining the potential of the integrated graduation approach. We find that it tends to resist simplification attempts. Paying implementers as a function of demonstrated poverty impacts comes with complications, but some of these are mitigated with scale.
Supervisor: Dercon, Stefan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available