Cash Transfers And Community Participation In Public Affairs: A Village-level Randomized Controlled Trial In Kenya

19 December 2022

The American Economic Association's registry for randomized controlled trials
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We provide well-identified evidence on how a large cash windfall from direct cash transfers from an NGO affects political processes and their outcomes for the poorest in rural communities in Kenya. We exploit village-level variation in the rollout of an unconditional cash transfer programme from two village-level randomized controlled trials, covering 1,097 villages. In each trial, we randomly assign half of the villages in an area targeted by the NGO GiveDirectly to an unconditional cash transfer programme, after stratifying by village economic status and size. We examine effects on poorer households which would have been eligible to be recipients of the cash transfer programme, richer households who would not have received the programme, non-recipients, and village-level outcomes. We focus on the extent of clientelist exchanges and on citizens' civic engagement and involvement in group and community initiatives.