Digital government -to -person (G2P) payments have emerged as an efficient and safe way to disburse social assistance at scale as countries expand cash transfers to provide economic relief to households affected by COVID -19. The Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), after experiencing delays and inefficiency during the first tranche of its COVID -19 Social Amelioration Program (SAP) with paper forms, manual processes, and physical cash delivery, moved quickly to digital cash transfers for the second tranche of SAP (SAP 2). It partnered with six financial service providers (FSPs) and provided cash transfers digitally to a significant share of 14 million SAP 2 beneficiaries.
This study, carried out by the Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and the World Bank, in collaboration with DSWD, aims to understand beneficiaries’ experience in receiving digital G2P payments and identify key areas for further strengthening. The study is based on a survey conducted among sampled beneficiaries who received SAP 2 benefits through digital channels.
Learn more about this publication on the World Bank's website.
Over the past decade, predatory and fraudulent practices in digital finance and financial technology have increased globally. The use of mobile applications for such purposes is a concern given the increased ubiquity of mobile devices, ongoing concerns about low financial and digital literacy in many population groups, and anecdotal evidence on a proliferation of methods and tools some finance app providers use to exploit vulnerable households and businesses. In addition to the direct harm caused to consumers, this can lead to mistrust of digital finance, which can delay financial inclusion efforts and undermine the benefits of financial technologies.
The objective of this project is to explore whether high-frequency app data and applied machine learning techniques can be leveraged to create a system for flagging and reporting highly suspect apps. As a “proof of concept,” the researchers draw on historical app meta and review data for 63 countries covering from January 2020 to April 2021 to document the prevalence of such problematic apps and test the efficiency and accuracy of such methods. To keep the project tractable, the researchers focus on a targeted subset of personal loan apps. The pilot informs future experimentation with the approach and suggests possible real-world applications, which could help provide targeted shortlists of highly suspect individual apps, country- or global-level monitoring to understand prevalence of problematic apps at a given point in time, or be fed into buyer-beware labelling on the app stores.
About 17 percent of the world’s population has received at least one COVID-19-related cash transfer payment since the onset of the pandemic. Many of these transfers have been conducted digitally to efficiently and safely provide economic relief to affected households. Amongst low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that offered cash transfers, 58 disbursed funds directly to a fully functioning bank account, an account only for benefit withdrawal, or a digital non-bank account. Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) research from the Philippines, Colombia, and Bangladesh explores consumers’ experience with digital cash transfers, and supports policy recommendations to improve the effectiveness of G2P payments and future financial inclusion.
Aproximadamente el 17 por ciento de la población mundial ha recibido al menos una transferencia monetaria a causa de la contingencia del COVID-19. Muchas de estas transferencias se han realizado de forma digital para brindar alivio económico de una manera eficiente y segura a los hogares más impactados por la emergencia sanitaria. Entre los países de ingresos bajos y medios que ofrecieron transferencias monetarias, 58 desembolsaron fondos de forma directa ya sea a cuentas bancarias que ya se encontraban activas, a cuentas destinadas únicamente al retiro de las transferencias o una cuenta digital no bancaria. Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) realizó una investigación en Filipinas, Colombia y Bangladesh para explorar la experiencia de los beneficiarios con las transferencias monetarias digitales. Como resultado, IPA emite una serie de recomendaciones para mejorar la eficacia de los pagos gobierno a persona (G2P) así como para fomentar la inclusión financiera.
We report the results of a randomized ﬁeld experiment in the Philippines on the eﬀects of two common anti-vote-selling strategies involving eliciting promises from voters. An invitation to promise not to vote-sell is taken up by most respondents, reduces vote-selling, and has a larger eﬀect in races with smaller vote-buying payments. The treatment reduces vote-selling in the smallest-stakes election by 10.9 percentage points. Inviting voters to promise to “vote your conscience” despite accepting money is signiﬁcantly less eﬀective. The results are consistent with a behavioral model in which voters are only partially sophisticated about their vote-selling temptation.
The IPA Philippines office partnered with the Supreme Court of the Philippines (SC) and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) to conduct a series of studies on the effect of judicial reforms on the efficiency of the lower trial courts. To comply with global and Philippine government safety guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, the research team adjusted the qualitative research approach to be fully remote. While it was necessary to do so during the pandemic, the study provides important lessons about remote qualitative interviews that will be relevant for future work. Remote video interviewing was successful enough that it be worthwhile even when in-person interviewing is possible, although group size may need to be limited compared to larger focus group.
Amidst the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the emerging economic recovery, cash transfers can provide timely lifelines and economic assistance to households in need. The Philippines government rapidly moved to institute a number of emergency assistance programs when the pandemic struck, including the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) launched in early April 2020. These programs have been able to help cushion Filipinos from immediate economic fallouts from lockdowns and slowed commercial activity.
Understanding how Filipinos have fared over the past few months, and what challenges they continue to face, is critical for the government’s design and delivery of social assistance programs moving forward. IPA partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to develop questions focused on employment and economic activity to help guide decisions and shape social assistance policies with data. The RECOVR survey, conducted from June 18-July 1, reached 1,389 respondents. This brief summarizes survey findings on the scale and extent of economic vulnerability in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic and makes recommendations for cash transfers and social assistance program design.