Andrew Simons, PhD candidate at Cornell University will discuss alternative approaches to managing Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program. As discussed in the World Bank’s Catching Hope video (below) this innovative cash transfer program pays farmers to improve local infrastructure in the off-season. Focusing on groundwater renewal and reforestation in rural Ethiopia this program reduces poverty even as it promotes sustainable development. More recently these transfer and conservation programs are credited with helping attenuate the impacts of a severe drought some compare to the 1984.
Simons’s research focuses on how funding and administrative control affect program outcomes. When communities have more control Simons finds they are more “pro-poor” directing more assistance “to underprivileged groups with lower wage earnings potential (e.g., teenage girls vs. teenage boys, adult women vs. adult men, elderly vs. working age adults).” However, these pro-poor programs do not significantly lower overall poverty rates unless the program is fully funded. Moreover, simulations indicate fully funded programs reduce poverty whether they are administered locally or not. “The major policy takeaway,” argues Simons “is that the financial scale of the safety net program is more important to poverty reduction than the locus of control over implementation.” Simon’s research was supported by the National Science Foundation through Cornell University’s Food Systems and Poverty Reduction Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program. Andrew Simon’s paper is available here or on his webpage www.andrewmsimons.com.
ANDREW M. SIMONS What is the Optimal Locus of Control for Social Assistance Programs?: Evidence from Ethiopia
Date: Tuesday, Febuary 9 Time: 4:00 PM- 5:15 PM Lincoln Center Location: LL 802 Rose Hill Location: Hughes Hall 212