A significant fraction of governmental programs, welfare arrangements, and cash transfer programs target women.
In matters related to children, most countries have a long tradition of targeting mothers. For example, in Norway, the
child benefits are automatically paid to mothers and 90% of the recipients are mothers. The main reasoning behind
policies that target mothers is that they promote gender equality, empower women, increase investments in
children, and improve child welfare. This can be formalized into two arguments; (i) the maternal argument states
that women are more likely to spend money on goods and services that benefit children than men are, and (ii) the
empowerment argument states that targeting women will increase their control over resources in the household and
therefore empower them.
The empirical evidence on how targeted transfers affect household allocations and child outcomes is still limited,
and we know very little about the mechanisms that generate any such impacts. The aim of this project is to start to
close this gap in the literature by advancing on the measurements, providing novel evidence on the effect of targeted
transfer policies on household resource allocation, and study underlying mechanisms, in a comparative study in ten
countries. To do so, we will develop, harmonize and validate measures that can be used in different contexts to
elicit effects on children of targeting mothers. Using these
improved measurement techniques will allow us to understand whether the maternal and empowerment arguments
are valid, and if so in which contexts, offering innovative insights and significant results that will be important for
science and policy.