Publication: Can Public Works Enhance Welfare in Fragile Economies? The Londo Program in the Central African Republic

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Alik-Lagrange, Arthur
Buehren, Niklas
Hoogeveen, Johannes
We evaluated the Londo public works program, which provided temporary employment and a bicycle to beneficiaries selected through public lotteries in the Central African Republic. The evaluation focused on the impacts of the program on households' welfare between 2 and 21 months after participation. We find that the program enhances the productivity of participants in a lasting way, with an approximate 10 percent increase in monthly earnings and a small impact on the number of days worked, well after they finished participating in the program. This improvement takes place through different channels for men, who intensify agricultural production and diversify in small manufacture activities, and women, who diversify into small trade activities. Londo increases the beneficiary households’ durable goods, such as furniture and cellphones, and productive assets, such as agricultural tools and livestock – thereby building household wealth. It also significantly improved their ability to cope with shocks. However, women coming from the poorest households experience much lower impacts on productivity and assets than men and women from less poor households, which indicates the need for specific provisions for widows and ultra-poor women in this type of intervention. The provision of bicycles increases mobility for male beneficiaries, but not for women, likely due to gender norms, risks and bike-riding skills, and other related constraints affecting women specifically.
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Alik-Lagrange, Arthur; Buehren, Niklas; Goldstein, Markus; Hoogeveen, Johannes. 2020. Can Public Works Enhance Welfare in Fragile Economies? The Londo Program in the Central African Republic. Gender Innovation Lab;. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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