Public Release: 

Program brings lasting progress for world's poorest

American Association for the Advancement of Science

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IMAGE: This is an infographic explaining the program studied in the Banerjee et al . paper. view more

Credit: Credit: Consultative Group to Assist the Poor

This news release is available in Japanese.

A program that combines direct aid and training can help the world's poorest households "graduate" from extreme poverty into sustainable standards of living, a new analysis shows. The program, spanning months to years in implementation, was tested in 11,000 households in Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Pakistan, and Peru. Its positive impacts on ultra-poor households--especially in terms of increased asset accumulation and food consumption--continued for a year after the program was ended. Abhijit Banerjee and colleagues say that results from the pilot projects in these countries show that the same type of support can work across different settings, to improve the lives of one-fifth of the world's population that lives on less than U.S. $1.25 a day. The multifaceted program provides these people with short-term aid that included giving the household a productive asset (such as livestock) ranging in value from US $451-1228, as well as regularly transferring food or cash, valued at US $26-71 per month, to the household for up to a year. The households also received technical training to manage their new assets; access to a savings account or a mandatory savings plan; some basic health education and health services; and frequent home visits to support the households in their "big push" out of extreme poverty. The researchers say that after two years, the benefits of the program outweighed the costs in most of the countries.

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Article #5: "A Multifaceted program causes lasting progress for the very poor: Evidence from six countries," by A. Banerjee; E. Duflo; D. Karlan; C. Udry; W. Parienté at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA; A. Banerjee; E. Duflo; D. Karlan; C. Udry at Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, DC; A. Banerjee; E. Duflo; D. Karlan; C. Udry at National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in Cambridge, MA; N. Goldberg; D. Karlan; B. Thuysbaert at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) in New Haven, CT; D. Karlan; C. Udry at Yale University in New Haven, CT; R. Osei at University of Ghana-Legon in Accra, Ghana; W. Parienté at Université Catholique de Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium; J. Shapiro at Princeton University in Princeton, NJ; B. Thuysbaert at University of Ghent in Ghent, Belgium.

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