Mobile money services such as Kenya’s M-Pesa are commonly used in cash transfer programs (image source)

I’m interested in the expansion of welfare programs in Africa.  Since 2000, more than 30 countries have adopted cash transfer programs, which provide small, monthly welfare payments to the poor.  What drives the creation of these programs — domestic politics, or pressure from international aid donors?   And do the same factors drive the creation of other types of welfare programs, such as national health insurance systems?

My dissertation examines these questions using a new cross-national dataset on African cash transfer programs and health insurance systems.  I am also carrying out case studies of the expansion of cash transfers and national health insurance in Ghana.   I’ll post links to working papers and data when they’re available.