« Back to Results

Cash Transfers, Women, and Families: International Perspectives

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM (PDT)

Manchester Grand Hyatt, Pier
Hosted By: Association for the Study of Generosity in Economics & International Association for Feminist Economics
  • Chair: Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Child Grants and Time Use of Single Parents in South Africa

Tanima Ahmed
American University


This paper is the first to evaluate the gendered effects of child grants on patterns of time allocation across SNA (System of National Accounts) production work, household maintenance, care work, leisure, self-care, and other non-work activities. SNA production work includes paid market work, subsistence and informal work, job search, and other production activities which standard labor market indicators generally fail to capture. I use data from the 2010 South Africa Time Use Survey on grant-eligible single parents aged 20-54 years to estimate a system of equations describing the time allocation of single parents. I address the endogeneity of the key grant receipt parameter using a probit model with an originally-constructed instrumental variable, regional median travel time to the welfare office. I find that single fathers living in grant recipient households reduce SNA production work by 22.5 percent (61.5 minutes per day) and single mothers by 61.5 percent (116.3 minutes per day). Single parents primarily redistribute their reduced SNA production work time to household maintenance and care work. Single fathers increase their time in household maintenance and care work by 72.2 percent (81.8 minutes per day) and single mothers by 62.8 percent (142.1minutes per day), respectively. This rise in household maintenance and care work leads to an overall increase in total work time, especially of single mothers. Single mothers living in grant recipient households increase their total work time by 5.4 percent, which is an increase of 25.8 minutes per day. A series of robustness checks confirms the results.

Unconditional Cash Transfers, Aspirations, and Children’s Schooling: Evidence from Pakistan

Fareena Malhi
American University


This paper examines the impact of unconditional cash transfer (UCT) on aspirations of the
individuals in treated households. UCTs are known to have a positive impact on household
income, women’s empowerment and health outcomes. In addition, aspirations boost the forward-
looking economic and political behavior. Combining the two literature, first, I posit that one
route to have a long-term impact of UCTs is through higher aspirations, that could pull the
households out of poverty cycle. Using the Pakistan Rural Household Panel Survey 2012-2014,
I estimate the impact of Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), one of the largest
unconditional cash transfer programs in Pakistan, on aspirations through four dimensions; annual
income, assets, education and social status using regression discontinuity design. In addition, I
am extending the model to examine the impact of parents’ educational aspirations on children’s
transition from one level of schooling to another ( primary, secondary, tertiary) in the following

Designing a Basic Income that Works for Women and Children

Almaz Zelleke
New York University Shanghai


This paper investigates the optimal design structure for a basic income program. Scholars have noted that the design of such programs can depend upon their effects on different individuals, including households headed by women and particularly for children. This paper will bring new evidence to research in this area.

Alleviating Time Poverty Among the Working Poor: A Pre-Registered Longitudinal Field Experiment

Ashley Whillans
Harvard Business School
Colin West
University of California-Los Angeles


Poverty entails more than a scarcity of material resources—it also involves a shortage of time. To examine the causal benefits of reducing time poverty, we are conducting a longitudinal field experiment in an urban slum in Kenya with a sample of working mothers, a population who is especially likely to experience severe time poverty. Participants receive vouchers for services designed to reduce their burden of unpaid labor. The effect of these vouchers are compared against equivalently valued unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) and a neutral control condition. Using a pre-post design, we are measuring whether time-saving vouchers increase subjective well-being, lower perceived stress, and reduce relationship conflict as compared to UCTs and a control condition. In doing so, this research tests a model of economic aid that recognizes both financial and temporal constraints. In this talk, interim results will be presented.
Abigail Payne
University of Melbourne
Susan Parker
University of Maryland
Nancy Folbre
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Anya Samek
University of Southern California
JEL Classifications
  • H4 - Publicly Provided Goods
  • D1 - Household Behavior and Family Economics