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Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the Global South

Joseph Hanlon, Armando Barrientos, and David Hulme
Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the Global South
ISBN: 978-1-56549-334-6
ISBN: 978-1-56549-333-9
ISBN: 978-1-56549-390-2
2010/216 pages/LC: 2009048967
"A scholarly and thoughtful read that shouldn't be missed."—Midwest Book Review

"Just Give Money to the Poor makes a convincing case for a simple but powerful idea: that guaranteeing families an assured base income will create a platform upon which they can build their futures."—Jonathan Morduch, New York University

"This is a book that we have been waiting for.... [The authors] present the evidence with clarity and brio, and place it in a suitably big historical and ethical framework concerning the evolution of attitudes of the monied towards 'the poor,' within countries and between countries."—Des Gasper, International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague

"Knitting together the growing evidence that regular cash transfers can break the intergenerational transmission of poverty by improving nutrition, health, and education outcomes, Just Give Money to the Poor calls for a rethinking and a dramatic simplification of the entire antipoverty aid industry."—Michael R. Carter, University of California


Amid all the complicated economic theories about the causes and solutions to poverty, one idea is so basic that it seems radical: bypass governments and NGOs, provide direct cash transfers, and let the poor decide how to use their money. Discussing this alternative, looking at both problems and successes and stressing that cash transfers are neither charity nor a safety net, the authors provide a compelling overview of practices that actually work.


Joseph Hanlon is senior lecturer in development policy and practice at the Open University. Armando Barrientos is professor and research director at the Brooks World Poverty Institute and senior researcher at the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, University of Manchester. David Hulme is professor of development studies and founder-director of the Chronic Poverty Research Centre and the Brooks World Poverty Institute, University of Manchester.


  • Introduction.
  • From Alms to Rights and North to South.
  • Cash Transfers Today.
  • Eating More—and Better.
  • Pro-poor Growth: Turning a $1 Grant into $2 Income.
  • To Everyone or Just a Few? The Targeting Dilemma.
  • Identifying Recipients.
  • Co-responsibility and Services: The Conditionality Dilemma.
  • Cash Transfers Are Practical in Poor Countries.