Disbursing Emergency Relief through Utilities: Evidence from Ghana

Government transfer programs to distribute food, water, or electricity at low or no cost have been widespread during the COVID-19 global health crisis. How does program design affect the efficiency and distributional implications of these policies? And what design features determine their political popularity?

We study these questions in the context of a program to distribute relief through the electric utility in Accra, Ghana, using data from 1,200 households surveyed during the COVID-19 crisis.

Susanna B. Berkouwer, Pierre E. Biscaye, Steven L. Puller, Catherine Wolfram