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More Is Better : Evaluating the Impact of a Variation in Cash Assistance on the Reintegration Outcomes of Returning Afghan Refugees (English)

This paper studies the effect of a change in the amount of cash assistance provided to Afghan refugees returning from Pakistan on household outcomes post-return. Using a regression discontinuity design, it measures the impact of a large exogenous change in cash assistance amounts on post-return outcomes in a quasi-experimental setting. Administrative data and post-return monitoring data suggest that more than 16 months after their return, returnees who received a larger cash allowance of $350 per returnee—equivalent to 2.5 times the average annual pre-return annual income—were better off than those who received a smaller cash allowance of $150. Recipients of the $350 cash assistance were more likely to invest in durable assets, such as a house (17 percentage point difference); recipients of the $150 cash allowance were more likely to use the assistance for immediate food consumption needs (40 percentage point difference). Households that received $350 per returnee were significantly more likely to have been issued legal documentation for their household members. In line with the literature on cash assistance, the change in cash assistance had no effect on post-return employment outcomes. The findings provide new evidence on the effects of unconditional cash transfers on refugee reintegration and show that larger cash transfer programs can have a large and long-term impact following refugees’ return.


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    Esper,Hisham, Krishnan,Nandini, Wieser,Christina

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    Policy Research Working Paper

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    South Asia,

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    More Is Better : Evaluating the Impact of a Variation in Cash Assistance on the Reintegration Outcomes of Returning Afghan Refugees

  • Keywords

    cash assistance; Poverty and Equity; female-headed household; Orphans and Vulnerable Children; treatment group; household per capita income; average per capita income; children of school age; access to health service; international organization for migration; conditional cash transfer program; access to health care; child in school; household head; average treatment effect; change in cash; child support grant; household head age; enrollment of child; household size; elasticity of consumption; cash transfer scheme; investments in agriculture; rate of employment; Access to Education; income-generating activity; transportation per capita; multidimensional poverty index; propensity score matching; income generating activity; food in school; improvements in health; amount of cash; labor market outcome; labor market condition; reducing child labor; household and individual; literature review; billion people; Exchange Rates; differences in treatment; household income; school enrollment; phone number; monitoring data; home ownership; cash allowances; standard error; school attendance; daily wage; per household; long-term impact; beneficiary household; voluntary repatriation; linear regression; regression model; consumption pattern; long-term asset; school-age child; ongoing conflicts; young child; functional form; estimation strategy; inflection point; reservation wage; household level; educational outcome; nonparametric estimation; selection bias; recent years; developmental outcomes; positive outcome; economic welfare; survey respondent; school participation; arbitrary nature; dietary diversity; method study; consumption good; consumption bundle; study design; time trend; return migrant; positive impact; ownership status; living standard; inferior good; us dollars; long-term outcome; early marriage; registration form; financial difficulties; conditional transfer; refugee community; indicator variable; employment probability; demographic data; refugee population; research observer; welfare recipient; living condition; inclusive growth; international policy; global knowledge; forced displacement; Research Support; registered refugees; voluntary return; humanitarian assistance; household consumption; international initiative; ultra poor; demographic factor; short term impact; poverty program; school subsidy; household outcomes; human capital; administrative datum; behavioral economics; short-term impact; durable asset; open access; development policy; Economic Policy; poverty alleviation; test score; confidence interval; livestock holding; financial cost; refugee situation; gender difference; returnee child; language barrier; school entry; asset accumulation; adult man; adult woman; recipient household; positive externality; undocumented refugee; robustness check; quadratic form; Job Creation; significant correlation; gender dynamic; opportunity cost; school material; affected households



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Esper,Hisham Krishnan,Nandini Wieser,Christina

More Is Better : Evaluating the Impact of a Variation in Cash Assistance on the Reintegration Outcomes of Returning Afghan Refugees (English). Policy Research working paper,no. WPS 9897 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.