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Direct and Indirect Effects of Malawi's Public Works Programme on Food Security

by Kathleen Beegle, Emanuela Galasso, Jessica Goldberg | Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Labor-intensive public works programs are important social protection tools in low-income settings, intended to supplement the income of poor households and improve public infrastructure. In this evaluation of the Malawi Social Action Fund, an at-scale, government-operated program, across- and within-village randomization is used to estimate effects on food security and use of fertilizer. There is no evidence that the program improves food security and suggestive evidence of negative spillovers to untreated households. These disappointing results hold even under modifications to the design of the program to offer work during the lean rather than harvest season or increase the frequency of payments. These findings stand in contrast to those from large PWPs in India and Ethiopia, and serves as a reminder that PWPs will not always have significant and measurable welfare effects.

Download the full working paper here.

Click here for a brief introduction of the project, here for the policy brief of the project and here for the World Bank research working paper.


Tagged: ProjectNr211