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ERIC Number: ED569136
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Sep
Pages: 35
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 9
Examining the Costs and Benefits of Family Rewards 2.0: A Conditional Cash Transfer Program in Two American Cities
Rudd, Timothy; Rodriguez, Jonathan; Greenberg, David
Family Rewards was an innovative approach to poverty reduction in the United States that was modelled on the conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs common in lower- and middle-income countries. The program offered cash assistance to poor families to reduce immediate hardship, provided they met certain criteria related to family health care, children's education, and parents' work, in the hope of reducing poverty over the long term. The first version of Family Rewards was evaluated in New York City in 2007. The lessons learned from that evaluation led to the next iteration of the model ("Family Rewards 2.0"). MDRC evaluated Family Rewards 2.0 through a randomized controlled trial involving about 1,200 families in Bronx, New York, and Memphis, Tennessee, half of whom could receive the cash rewards and half of whom could not. This report presents the program's costs and the economic value of the estimated effects over four years. The findings show that the level of effort required to support participants and process rewards, as well as the value of potential impacts on targeted outcomes, are primary drivers of success for CCT programs. Conditional cash payments are more likely to produce benefits in excess of program costs for taxpayers and society when the level of effort required to administer reward payments is low and the potential value of impacts on targeted outcomes is high. [Additional support for the evaluation was provided by the Benificus Foundation, the City of Memphis, and the Women's Foundation of Greater Memphis.]
MDRC. 16 East 34th Street 19th Floor, New York, NY 10016-4326. Tel: 212-532-3200; Fax: 212-684-0832; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: High School Equivalency Programs; High Schools; Adult Education; Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Corporation for National and Community Service; Bloomberg Philanthropies; Open Society Foundations (OSF); Rockefeller Foundation; Kresge Foundation; New York Community Trust; W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Authoring Institution: MDRC
Identifiers - Location: New York (New York); Tennessee (Memphis)