What is the most effective way to relieve people living in extreme poverty? Some researchers believe unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) provide the answer. But skeptics have alleged that UCTs can do more harm than good. For instance, recipients can spend the money on frivolous temptations, or the cash can generate interpersonal conflicts.

Since 2009, the nonprofit GiveDirectly has provided cash infusions to poor households in Kenya and Uganda. Unlike those from many other...

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