Does giving cash really alleviate poverty?
Dr. Tara Patricia Cookson,
Gates Cambridge Scholar
This seminar challenges dominant understandings of poverty and exclusion by analyzing the hidden costs of one of the most widely implemented poverty alleviation tools, the conditional cash transfer (CCT). In over 50 countries across the globe, states use cash payments to incentivize poor people’s use of basic services and promote inclusive development. Behavioral economists and policymakers argue that conditionality is effective and efficient, and some social scientists see cash transfers as forming the basis for a “new distributive politics”. Yet in the marginalized communities where CCTs are implemented, does conditioning cash actually alleviate poverty and bring about widespread inclusion? Drawing on extensive institutional ethnography of Peru’s CCT Juntos and feminist geography and critical development theories, this seminar analyses conditionality in light of rural women’s everyday experiences of meeting program conditions. In doing so, it seeks to reframe contemporary discussions about development to consider inequality and justice, and poses new questions for research.
Colloquium in Smith 304 at 3:30 with reception to follow in Smith 411.