ICI Documents 4 May 2020

The effect of cash transfers on child labour: evidence from rural contexts

Cash transfers are increasingly used as a way of addressing poverty across the world. Evidence shows that they can have a positive impact on children’s welfare, improving access to education, nutrition, health and material wellbeing. However, much less is known about their impact on child labour. To fill this evidence gap, the International Cocoa Initiative conducted a review of evidence on how cash transfers affect child labour. The study is part of an ongoing project with Nestlé and ECOM, supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

The literature review analysed 21 studies of cash transfer programmes across Asia, Africa and Latin America. With agriculture accounting for more than 70% of child labour worldwide, the review focused specifically on impacts of cash transfers in rural contexts. Building upon two earlier reviews, it incorporates several studies from the past five years, providing an important addition to the knowledge base on this topic.

Read the report: The effect of cash transfers on child labour: a review of evidence from rural contexts 

Read the report summary in French.

Download the infographic.


This review was commissioned as part of an innovation project called Targeted Income Support to Vulnerable Households to Reduce Child Labour. The findings are being used to inform the design of a cash transfer programme for vulnerable cocoa-growing households in Ghana. Within the project, ICI will deliver cash transfers to households at risk of child labour over the course of several months. The impact of cash payments on child labour, child wellbeing and household income will be carefully evaluated to better understand this link and understand whether cash could be a viable option to help address child labour in cocoa-growing communities.

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