Does 25 cents more per day make a difference? The impact of livestock transfer and development in rural Zambia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Analyses of the impacts of asset transfer programs often find statistically significant effects on consumption expenditures that are large in percentage terms but small in absolute value. This study explores the practical significance of such impacts using the case of a livestock transfer program among impoverished households in Zambia. As in other studies, results show that the asset transfers increased household consumption expenditure and dietary diversity. Extending previous work, this paper examines whether the increase in expenditures has been large enough to trigger changes in consumption patterns or in subjective assessment of poverty status. Changes in composition of expenditures, composition of diet, and subjective self-assessment of poverty all suggest a growing sense of security and a practically significant change in welfare for treated households. As transfers included three different types of animals – dairy cows, meat goats, and draft cattle – we are able to discern that the specific nature of the asset transferred influences food security impacts. Examination of change in the composition of consumption shows substantial effects on poverty and food security starting within six months of livestock transfers. Persistence of the impact through the next 18 months of our study period indicates that livestock transfers can have a sustained effect on poverty and food security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-72
Number of pages11
JournalFood Policy
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Consumption expenditure
  • Dietary diversity
  • Food security
  • Livestock donation
  • Poverty
  • Revenue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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