The classic proverb says: If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will have food for a lifetime. Christopher Blattman’s research suggests that if you just give the man cash, he will buy a fishing pole and learn how to fish himself.
Blattman, an assistant professor of international and public affairs and political science, recently completed a four-year study of a government-run program in northern Uganda that gave cash to groups of young people so they could learn a trade and start their own businesses. The results surprised him and convinced him that outright grants are the best way to give aid.