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A Multifaceted Program Causes Lasting Progress for the Very Poor: Evidence from Six Countries

May 2015

Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, Nathanael Goldberg, Dean Karlan, Robert Osei, William Parienté, Jeremy Shapiro, Bram Thuysbaert, Christopher Udry


This randomized experiment tests mechanisms for incomes amongst the very poor. The study includes 10,495 participants across six developing countries. Those randomly assigned to the treatment group are provided temporary cash support, training, life skills coaching, and access to banking and health services. At the conclusion of the program, analysis showed significant benefits in ten different areas, including assets, oncome, health, political involvement, food security, and so on. After three years eight of the ten measures continued to show significant improvement.

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Policy Implications

Though conducted in developing nations, these results could have start implications for alleviating poverty in the US, as well. Programs focusing on temporary assistance, while also providing training for employment and life-skills in general, may help to significantly lower the poverty rate.

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