Abstract

We study the impact of money on households during theCOVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, Colombia rolled out a new unconditional cash transfer (UCT) to one million households in povertyworth $19 (PPP $55.6) and paid every 5-8 weeks. Using an RCT and linked administrative and survey data, we find the UCT had positive (albeit modest) effects on measures of household well-being (e.g., financial health, food access). Moreover, the UCT boosted support for emergency assistance to households and firms during the crisis and promoted social cooperation. Finally, we explore the bottlenecks in expanding mobile money during a pandemic.

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