Is Cash Better Than Services? Just Ask.

What’s a better use of development funds: services—or cash?

As India considers a universal basic income, a survey in rural Bihar found an overwhelming preference for investment in services like public health and infrastructure.

Just 13% of respondents preferred cash to public health, which came out on top when stacked against job security and roads.

The survey has its limits—preferences would likely depend on the exact trade-off between cash or services. But its results show that to avoid paternalistic development, the best approach may simply be asking people what they want.   


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