Social Protection and Economic Growth in Malawi: An Evaluation of the Economic Impact of the Social Cash Transfer in the Wider Community

Program Description

The Social Cash Transfer Pilot Scheme in Malawi was designed to alleviate poverty, reduce malnutrition, and improve school enrollment among the poorest 10 percent of households by delivering regular and reliable cash transfers to ultra-poor households that are also labor-constrained. Through its Social Protection and Economic Growth project, the CGHD aimed to examine the potential of Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer program to influence local economic growth by determining how cash is spent, and also to assess whether the Social Cash Transfer contributes to poverty alleviation within the wider community—among households that benefit only indirectly from the scheme. Malawi is a deeply impoverished country where the national social protection policy focuses on integrating social and economic development initiatives to reduce poverty and contribute to national economic growth.

At the study’s conclusion, the CGHD found evidence that the cash transfers influenced economic development by: (1) enabling the poor to protect themselves against unforeseen expenses such as illness or disaster; (2) increasing the productive capacity and asset base of poor and vulnerable households; (3) encouraging investment by reducing risk through the predictability of transfers; and (4) stimulating demand for local goods and services and supporting enterprises in rural areas.

Project Details

Principal Investigator Candace Miller
  • Center for Social Research, University of Malawi
Country(ies) Malawi
Dates of Research 2008–2009