Thursday, March 22, 2012

On the way to Juba

Next week I will be visiting Juba University for a fact finding mission with a very multidisciplinary team from Frankfurt University. So I hope to be posting my impressions about the newest country in the world!

While I thought that going to South Sudan was a novelty, at the CSAE conference I met many people that have been there, working for different donors, NGOs and Government organizations. I particularly enjoyed the presentation by Munshi Sulaiman, from BRAC, about a RCT to evaluate a food assistance program. The results of the paper suggest that the program did not meet its originals goals but still had many positive effects in various other outcomes for ultra poor households in Juba, without creating disincentives to work for the adults:

Food assistance is one of the most common forms of safety net programs in post‐conflict
situations. Though there are strong humanitarian arguments for such programs, they are
often criticized on the grounds of their possible influence on creating disincentive to work and on crowding out of private transfers. While there is a relatively large amount of empirical research on social protection in stable contexts, it is hardly researched in post‐conflict situations. Based on a randomized evaluation of a food‐for‐training program implemented in Southern Sudan, this paper estimates these effects. We do not observe any effect of food transfer on the hours of work or the type of the economic activities of the adult members. However, there is a significant negative impact (about 20‐25%) on per capita household income. This decline in income mostly comes about through reduction in child labor. We also do not find any indication of crowding out of private transfers for the participants. This is most likely due to the extent of private transfers being very low to begin with. We find that short term food transfer assisted the households to build durable assets, mostly in housing, which is a means of spreading the gain from a transfer over life‐cycle.

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