This week our own Joe Huston spoke to the Universal Income Project in San Francisco about GiveDirectly’s upcoming basic income pilot and recipient autonomy. “It’s hard to out farm a subsistence farmer,” he said “it turns out they’re pretty good at it.” In other news the Overseas Development Institute published a study, called “Understanding the Impact of Cash Transfers,” which analyzes the evidence on cash transfers, including their impact on women’s empowerment and workforce participation.


1. Basic Income Experiments: A Q&A with GiveDirectly
Universal Income Project, Joe Huston, July 28, 2016
Joe Huston, regional director of special projects at GiveDirectly (, spoke to the Universal Income Project about charity through cash transfers, the research GiveDirectly has done, and their upcoming $30 million basic income experiment in Kenya.


2. Conditional Cash Transfers in the Philippines Nurture Dreams
The World Bank, August 1, 2016
The conditional cash transfer program in the Philippines – PANTAWID – has reached 4.4 million families in 2015. The program is helping break inter-generational cycle of poverty that affects 25 million Filipinos.

3. Can Cash Transfers Reduce HIV Incidence in Young People?
AllAfrica, Charles Pensulo, August 1, 2016
Bok cited a 2013 study which took place in Malawi in which girls in school were being given stipends and the results showed a drop of HIV infection among the girls by 65 per cent and a dramatic increase school attendance.

4. How the UN is Using Cellphones to Improve Conditions for Boko Haram Victims
Pulse, Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu, July 28, 2016
The mobile money service (operated by local telecom providers) allows users to save, receive and transfer money from their cell phones. The great thing about the technology is that it works with all kinds of phones; not necessarily smart phones.

5. Cash Transfers Don’t Discourage Working, Says ODI
Public Finance International, Emma Rumney, July 27, 2016
The think-tank analysed evidence on the effects of cash transfers – where aid money is delivered directly to recipients in cash or electronically, rather than in kind – from 165 studies, spanning 15 years and covering 56 cash transfer programmes across 30 low- and middle- income countries.

6. Understanding the Impact of Cash Transfers: The Evidence
Overseas Development Institute, Jessica Hagen-Zanker et al, July 27, 2016
This policy brief summarises the findings of a rigorous review of the evidence on the impacts of cash transfers on individuals and households, covering literature spanning 15 years (2000–2015) (Bastagli et al., 2016). This review is distinct from other cash transfer reviews in terms of the methods used, the breadth of the evidence synthesised, and a focus on programme design and implementation features.


7. ​Act in Faithfulness ‘As Long as Ever You Can’
dJournal, Rod Guajardo, July 30, 2016
William MacAskill, a Scots philosopher, makes a reasonable argument that acts of charity can become even more meaningful if donors act out of fact-based information rather than only on impulse.


8. These Policies Could Move America Toward a Universal Basic Income
The Nation, Mike Konczal, August 1, 2016
As the economy continues to struggle, the debate over guaranteed basic income is back in the headlines. The idea is both simple and basic: Give people enough cash to eliminate poverty. A guaranteed check for, say, $12,000 a year per person would accomplish this. It could be arranged relatively easily through the tax code, without a large, stigmatizing welfare apparatus to go with it.

9. Money for Nothing: Explaining the Appeal of a Universal Basic Income
ABC, Tim Roxburgh, July 27, 2016
At first it sounds totally unworkable: the idea of a government handing out a monthly payment to everyone in the country, no questions asked. But the proposal is being seriously considered on the left and the right. Tim Roxburgh tries to make sense of the push for a universal basic income.

10. Here’s How Helicopter Money Could Send Stocks Flying
Business Insider, Will Martin, July 26, 2016
The term helicopter money was first coined by American economist Milton Friedman in the 1960s. The basic principle is that central banks create new cash and give it directly to people to spend on whatever they want.

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