The Zomba conditional cash transfer experiment: An assessment of its methodology: Pathways’ Perspective #6

In our 6th Perspective, Stephen Kidd and Rebecca Calder examine the results of a study undertaken by the World Bank in an attempt to assess the effectiveness of using conditions in cash transfer programmes. Based on the findings of the study, in 2010, the researchers – Sarah Baird, Craig McIntosh and Berk Ozler– published a paper indicating that conditions made no difference.

Interestingly, by 2011 this conclusion had changed, with a revised paper claiming that the use of conditions not only increased enrolment and attendance but also improved learning outcomes. Unsurprisingly, the change in findings has generated a significant amount of interest.


While Development Pathways may not necessarily agree with the views of the authors, we believe it is important to give people space to express their opinions.

 About the Authors

Stephen Kidd is a Senior Social Policy Specialist at Development Pathways. He believes that when people receive significant funding for research on CCTs, it should be conditional on their producing high quality work.

Rebecca Calder is a Senior Social Development Specialist at Development Pathways. She loves to condition her hair but is somewhat reticent about doing the same to poor families.

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