Local Economy-Wide Impact Evaluation (LEWIE) of Ethiopia's Social Cash Transfer Pilot Programme


The Ethiopia Social Cash Transfer Pilot Programme (SCTPP) was introduced in 2011 in two woredas of the Tigray region by the regional Government with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The goal of the SCTPP is to “improve the quality of life for vulnerable children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities” in programme households. Although the programme targets the poorest of the poor, the actual benefit to the local economy goes beyond programme beneficiaries. When beneficiaries spend the cash transfer, they transmit the impact of the programme to others inside and outside the local economy, more often to households not eligible for the cash transfer who tend to own most of the productive assets.

The impact of the SCTPP on the local economy was simulated using a LEWIE (Local Economy Wide Impact Evaluation) model applied to the two areas that received the transfer, the tabias of Hintalo-Wajirat and the town of Abi-Adi. The LEWIE model found that each birr distributed in Hintalo-Wajirat generated an extra 1.52 birr via local market linkages, for a total income multiplier of 2.52. Similarly, each birr distributed in Abi-Adi generated an additional .35 birr, for a total income multiplier of 1.35. Thus the initial transfer of 5.58 million birr in Hintalo-Wajirat and 1.62 million birr in Abi-Adi potentially generated 14.06 million birr and 2.19 million birr respectively. However if credit, capital and other market constraints limit the local supply response, the increase in demand brought about by the cash transfer programme may also lead to increased prices and consequently a lower income multiplier. Simulations incorporating such constraints find a “real” income multiplier of 1.84 birr for Hintalo-Wajirat and 1.26 birr for Abi-Adi. In both cases non-beneficiaries and the local economy as a whole benefit significantly from cash transfer programmes via trade and production linkages. Maximizing the income multiplier may require complementary interventions that target both beneficiary and non-beneficiary families.


Kagin, J.; Taylor, E.J.; Alfani, F.; Davis, B. Local Economy-Wide Impact Evaluation (LEWIE) of Ethiopia’s Social Cash Transfer Pilot Programme. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy (2014) vi + 25 pp.

Local Economy-Wide Impact Evaluation (LEWIE) of Ethiopia’s Social Cash Transfer Pilot Programme

Published 1 January 2014