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The Fading Treatment Effects of a Multi-Faceted Asset-Transfer Program in Ethiopia (WP-23-14)

Nathan Barker, Dean Karlan, Christopher Udry, and Kelsey Wright

The researchers study the long-run effects of a big-push “graduation” program in Ethiopia in which very poor households received a one-time transfer of productive assets (mainly livestock), technical training, and access to savings accounts. After seven years, treatment effects on wealth and consumption remain economically meaningful but dissipated relative to the two- and three-year results. Treatment effects on other outcomes attenuated further. Based on absolute wellbeing (e.g., food security) not dropping, the authors argue that the treatment effect dissipation is driven primarily by improved living standards for control households, rather than losses of the previously accrued benefits for the treatment households.

Nathan Barker, Postdoctoral Researcher, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago

Dean Karlan, Frederic Esser Nemmers Chair of Economics and IPR Associate, Northwestern University

Christopher Udry, Robert E. and Emily King Professor of Economics and IPR Associate, Northwestern University

Kelsey Wright, School of Economics, Paris School of Economics

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