Cash at Your Fingertips: Biometric Technology for Transfers in Developing and Resource-Rich Countries

45 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2011  

Alan Gelb

Center for Global Development

Caroline Decker

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: June 2, 2011

Abstract

Cash transfers are often a good way for developing countries to address economic and social problems. They are less expensive than directly providing goods and services and allow recipients the flexibility to spend on what they need the most, but for many developing countries, the technical requirements for large-scale programs have been prohibitive. Now, however, biometric technologies have improved and become ubiquitous enough to allow the confident identification and low cost needed to implement successful cash-transfer programs in developing countries. This paper surveys the arguments for and against cash-transfer programs in resource-rich states, discusses some of the new biometric identification technologies, and reaches preliminary conclusions about their potentially very large benefits for developing countries. The barriers to cash-transfers are no longer technical, but political.

Keywords: biometric technology, cash transfer, resource-rich states, developing countries

JEL Classification: F35, F30

Suggested Citation

Gelb, Alan and Decker, Caroline, Cash at Your Fingertips: Biometric Technology for Transfers in Developing and Resource-Rich Countries (June 2, 2011). Center for Global Development Working Paper No. 253. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1888376 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1888376

Alan Gelb (Contact Author)

Center for Global Development ( email )

2055 L St. NW
5th floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Caroline Decker

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
214
rank
128,269
Abstract Views
1,057
PlumX