Many of the world’s poorest and most fragile states are joining the ranks of oil and gas producers. These countries face critical policy questions about managing and spending new revenue in a way that is beneficial to their people. At the same time, a growing number of developing countries have initiated cash transfers as a response to poverty, and these programs are showing some impressive results. In this paper, Todd Moss proposes putting these two trends together: countries seeking to manage new resource wealth should consider distributing income directly to citizens as cash transfers. Beyond serving as a powerful and proven policy intervention, cash transfers may also mitigate the corrosive effect natural resource revenue often has on governance.
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