Economist Jenny Aker explores the pros and cons of delivering aid via cash, voucher, or digital payment in two very different African programs.
There are now 60 million users of mobile financial services in 84 countries, all of them in the developing world. At the same time, there is a growing interest from governments, aid agencies, and NGOs in providing aid via direct transfer, whether in cash, vouchers, or mobile money. Jenny Aker, Assistant Professor of Economics at Tufts University, works at the convergence of these two trends, studying how poor households use cash and digital products as part of their overall financial management strategies. In an interview with FAI, Aker discussed the results of two randomized studies she conducted, one among refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and another among women in drought-stricken rural Niger . . .