The Open UniversitySkip to content

It is possible to just give money to the poor

Hanlon, Joseph (2004). It is possible to just give money to the poor. Development and Change, 35(2) pp. 375–383.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Meghnad Desai of the London School of Economics recently suggested that, rather than 'giving fifty billion dollars of overseas aid', we should simply 'find the poor and give them one dollar a week. ... That would probably do more to relieve poverty than anything else.' Two experiences in Mozambique of simply handing out money show this is possible. Payments to demobilised soldiers over a two-year period and single payments to flood victims were of the order of magnitude suggested by Desai. Rural people had no difficulty cashing cheques and used the money prudently. The money stimulated the rural economy and thus had a development impact. Administrative costs were between 5 and 10 per cent, much less than other aid projects. Using the Mozambique experience, this articles concludes by suggesting that Desai's proposed one dollar per person per week could be paid as a family grant bi-monthly, which would keep administrative costs low.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 1467-7660
Extra Information: The definitive version is available at
Keywords: universal grant; cash transfer; basic income
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 2211
Depositing User: Joseph Hanlon
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2006
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 09:46
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU