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HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Jeffrey Cheah Professor of South-East Asia Studies

Abstract

Around the world, there are often contentious debates on whether or not to provide social safety net programs to the poor. Critics often paint a portrait of the poor as lazy, refusing to work in order to receive government handouts, wasting valuable tax-payer funds on for example alcohol and cigarettes, rather than feeding and clothing children. The debate in Indonesia over cash transfers mirrors the worldwide debate. Impassioned arguments come from both sides about whether social protection programs, from cash transfers like the temporary direct aid program (BLSM) to conditional transfers like 'Family of Hope' (PKH) -- actually help the poor or simply reduce their incentive to work. Putting aside the political rhetoric and ideology, what do we actually know about the impact of cash transfer programs on work?

Citation

Hanna, Rema, and Benjamin Olken. "Cash Transfers to Indonesia's Poor Don't Discourage Work." Jakarta Globe, October 31, 2015.