Is cash better than in-kind aid? Let's find out.

 In-kind Aid vs cash transfers. Source: Niehaus, presentation at Center for Global Development, 2014

In-kind Aid vs cash transfers. Source: Niehaus, presentation at Center for Global Development, 2014

Next time you donate money to buy a poor family a cow or give a seamstress a loan for starting a small business, ask yourself the following question: would it be more effective to simply give cash? Amanda Glassman, Director of Global Health Policy and Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, argues in this blog post that in many cases, cash is cheaper and more effective than in-kind aid. She suggests that funders should find out if their in-kind assistance does more good than cash at achieving their anti-poverty objectives, noting the success of charities like GiveDirectly. Whether the "cash is king" mantra holds in the HIV/AIDS context is the focus of our ongoing study in Tanzania.