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Cash, Food, or Vouchers? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Northern Ecuador

40 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2013  

Melissa Hidrobo

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

John Hoddinott

Cornell University, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Students

Amber Peterman

UNICEF - Innocenti Research Centre

Amy Margolies

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) - CGIAR Consortium

Vanessa Moreira

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) - CGIAR Consortium

Date Written: December 1, 2012

Abstract

The debate over whether to provide food assistance and the form that this assistance should take has a long history in economics. Despite the ongoing debate, little rigorous evidence exists that compares food assistance in the form of cash versus in-kind. This paper uses a randomized evaluation to assess the impacts and cost-effectiveness of cash, food vouchers, and food transfers. We find that all three modalities significantly improve the quantity and quality of food consumed. However, differences emerge in the types of food consumed, with food transfers leading to significantly larger increases in calories consumed, and vouchers leading to significantly larger increases in dietary diversity.

Keywords: food assistance, cash and in-kind transfers, food security, Ecuador

Suggested Citation

Hidrobo, Melissa and Hoddinott, John and Peterman, Amber and Margolies, Amy and Moreira, Vanessa, Cash, Food, or Vouchers? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Northern Ecuador (December 1, 2012). IFPRI Discussion Paper No. 01234. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2197461 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2197461

Melissa Hidrobo (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

John Hoddinott

Cornell University, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Students ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

Amber Peterman

UNICEF - Innocenti Research Centre ( email )

Piazza SS.Annuziata, 12
Florence, I-50122
Italy

Amy Margolies

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) - CGIAR Consortium ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Vanessa Moreira

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) - CGIAR Consortium ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

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