Implementing Cash Transfers to U.S. Families: Insights from the Baby’s First Years Study

D. Soman, J. Zhao, & S. Datta (Eds.), Using Cash Transfers to Build an Inclusive Society: A Behaviorally Informed Approach, University of Toronto Press, Forthcoming

28 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2022

See all articles by Lisa A. Gennetian

Lisa A. Gennetian

Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research; Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab

Sarah Halpern-Meekin

UW Madison

Lauren Meyer

Columbia University, Teachers' College

Nathan Fox

University of Maryland

Katherine Magnuson

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Kimberly Noble

Teachers College, Columbia University

Hirokazu Yoshikawa

New York University (NYU)

Date Written: November 1, 2022

Abstract

By reducing poverty, cash allowances can have positive impacts on families with children. However, their distribution and uptake depend on successful implementation, the ease of receiving the money, and whether the intended near-universal reach to all eligible families is achieved. The U.S. context is especially challenging because no existing system is available to efficiently and quickly deliver financial supports to families with children during times of crisis. In this paper, we describe an approach used to disburse cash to families with children in the U.S. via a debit card mechanism as part of a multi-site, randomized controlled study of poverty reduction called Baby’s First Years. The behavioral economic insights that informed the design and implementation of the study’s cash transfer mechanism offer useful considerations regarding population inclusion and reach in large-scale programs.

Keywords: cash transfer, poverty, implementation, behavioral economics

JEL Classification: D63, I38, J18, O35

Suggested Citation

Gennetian, Lisa A. and Halpern-Meekin, Sarah and Meyer, Lauren and Fox, Nathan and Magnuson, Katherine and Noble, Kimberly and Yoshikawa, Hirokazu, Implementing Cash Transfers to U.S. Families: Insights from the Baby’s First Years Study (November 1, 2022). D. Soman, J. Zhao, & S. Datta (Eds.), Using Cash Transfers to Build an Inclusive Society: A Behaviorally Informed Approach, University of Toronto Press, Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4286345 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4286345

Lisa A. Gennetian (Contact Author)

Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy ( email )

212 Rubenstein Hall
Durham, NC 27708-0204
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9196139341 (Phone)
27708 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sanford.duke.edu/profile/lisa-gennetian/

National Bureau of Economic Research ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab ( email )

400 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.povertyactionlab.org/person/gennetian

Sarah Halpern-Meekin

UW Madison ( email )

Lauren Meyer

Columbia University, Teachers' College ( email )

525 W 120th St
New York, NY 10027
United States

Nathan Fox

University of Maryland ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

Katherine Magnuson

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

Kimberly Noble

Teachers College, Columbia University ( email )

525 W. 120th St.
New York, NY 10027
United States

Hirokazu Yoshikawa

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

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