Abstract

Not having enough money to buy everything we want can be disappointing. But true poverty is not having enough money for basic human needs like food, clothing, or a place to live. Governments and organizations are looking for effective ways to help people escape poverty. Some programs give people cash unconditionally – meaning it is given with no strings attached. Others give them conditional cash – for example, only if their children attend school. So which approach is more effective? We compared the impacts of unconditional and conditional cash for schoolgirls in Malawi, Africa. Unconditional cash improved girls’ wellbeing and reduced teen marriage and pregnancy rates. But the positive effects disappeared when the money stopped. Conditional cash led to the girls achieving more at school. Each approach has its unique benefits. We think implementing them together would be a more effective tool to fight poverty than either approach alone.

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About this article

Summary of research
Researchers wanted to compare the impacts of unconditional and conditional cash transfers for schoolgirls in Malawi, Africa.
Reading level
Scientific field
Key words
NGSS standards
AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Scientific methods
Type of figure
Location of research
Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
October 2020

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