Experimental impacts of Tanzania’s conditional cash transfer on household investment choices (follow-up)

Project State

Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) programme is the second-largest government-run conditional cash transfer (CCT) programme in Africa. Funded mainly by the Government of Tanzania and the World Bank - and implemented by the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) - the aim of the PSSN is to increase income and consumption and to help vulnerable populations cope with shocks while enhancing the human capital of children. The programme, scaled up to reach over 1 million households in August 2015, has already been implemented. An experimental component was built into the implementation for rigorous evaluation and a midline impact evaluation survey was conducted in March 2018.

This study will analyse the impact of the PSSN using data already collected in the midline and baseline surveys. While many CCT programmes have been evaluated in recent years, Tanzania’s programme is unique and demands further study in two key ways:

(a) It is a very large cash transfer programme in Africa, where there is less evidence on large-scale social protection programmes. Therefore, this study can not only inform the design of social protection policies in Tanzania, but also can help provide insights into such policies on the African continent more generally.

(b) This study’s preliminary midline evaluations contained several results that go against widely documented findings on CCTs. Specifically, early analysis shows that while there are few impacts on the human capital conditions for children, the CCT appears to lead to positive changes in adults' work and asset acquisition outcomes. Confirming these results and investigating these patterns of household choices can help understand how social protection policies impact household investment in current business and productivity outcomes today, and how they impact the productivity of the next generation.

In short, the scale of the programme and these preliminary results taken together suggest a vast potential to understand the role of cash transfer programmes in providing a safety net. Also, its role in contributing to labour markets, business development, and economic growth in Africa.

The analysis is guided by three urgently policy-relevant research questions, which will all help understand the nuances of the relationship between CCTs and growth policy in Tanzania and elsewhere:

  • How does the PSSN impact labour market outcomes, agriculture and small business development?
  • How do households assess consumption and investment trade-offs in light of the programme conditions?
  • How does productive investment under the PSSN compare to the investment effects of other CCT programmes?