CID Speaker Series: Cash Transfer Programs in Developing Countries: Insights from Indonesia


Friday, November 30, 2018, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Perkins Room (R429) - Rubenstein Building 4th floor

aaron_bermanSpeaker: Aaron Berman, Research Fellow, Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD)

About the talk: In this talk, Aaron Berman will present an overview of EPoD's research on cash transfers in developing countries, led by Professors Rema Hanna (HKS) and Ben Olken (MIT). He will focus in particular on two research projects. The first, "Universal Basic Incomes versus Targeted Transfers: Anti-Poverty Programs in Developing Countries," explores several considerations related to the design and implementation of cash transfer programs and weighs the advantages of targeted programs against universal basic income schemes. The second, "Cumulative Impacts of Conditional Cash Transfers: Experimental Evidence from Indonesia," evaluates a large-scale policy experiment involving Program Keluarga Harapan (PKH), Indonesia's conditional cash transfer program, six years after the program's launch. In this paper, Hanna, Olken, and co-authors show that the conditional cash transfer continues to have large impacts on incentivized health-seeking behaviors and educational attainment for children ages 7 to 15. Additionally, the program has had longer-term impacts on health outcomes, such as stunting, that may require cumulative investments. This project contributes to a relatively new body of knowledge on the long-term impacts of conditional cash transfer programs, which have previously been difficult to estimate.

About the speaker: Aaron Berman is a research fellow at Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard Kennedy School, where he supports the research portfolio of Rema Hanna, Jeffrey Cheah Professor of South-East Asia Studies. He has spent his time at EPoD studying the implementation and impacts of various anti-poverty programs in Indonesia and India. Aaron's research interests focus on the intersection between economics, public health, and medicine. He has previously worked on projects related to Ebola response in Liberia as well as on state-level drug pricing legislation in the US. He holds a BA from Yale University and an MPH from the Yale School of Public Health.