Humanitarian Assistance and IDPs. Experimental Evidence from a Voucher Program in the Congo

Dr. Maarten Voors, Wageningen University

Humanitarian assistance aims to save lives and reduce suffering in the immediate aftermath of crises. We use a randomized controlled trial and multiple rounds of data to study the impact of humanitarian assistance to recently displaced individuals and their host communities in rural Democratic Republic of Congo. A total of 976 households participated in a lottery in which half were randomly selected to receive once off vouchers, worth $55-95, for essential household items. Recipients could then purchase these items at locally organized fairs. Six weeks after the intervention, we find strong positive impacts on adult mental health. We also find moderate positive impacts on village social cohesion and explorative impacts on resilience. We find no changes in the physical health status of children. Further, about 71% of our sample live in a dwelling with more than one household. Comparing multi-household dwellings, we find no evidence that vouchers had indirect effects. Over the longer run, a year after the intervention, we find that impacts on adult mental health remain, highlighting the positive psychological impacts of emergency relief.

About the speaker

Maarten Voors (PhD Wageningen, 2011) is an Associate Professor in Development Economics at Wageningen University. His main field is development economics. His research focuses on incentives, institutions and behavior in (post-conflict) developing countries. He uses a variety of methods including surveys, lab and field experiments and econometric analysis. His geographic focus is Sub Saharan Africa. Recent projects include field experiments on formal and informal institutions, recruitment and monitoring (health) workers, rural electrification and technology adoption. He is the current EGAP Trainings Director and organizes EGAPs Learning Days workshops.

Venue: 0.18

Date: 06 February 2020

Time: 12:00 - 13:00  CEST