Going digital makes aid programmes more effective
Starting about five years ago, the Indonesian government stopped sending 10-kilogram bags of rice to villages and began sending debit cards instead so people could buy the food themselves. The result, according to a study led in part by Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) researchers, including J-PAL's co-founder and co-director, Abhijit Banerjee, was that people received all the food intended for them 81% of the time—as opposed to 24% previously. Under the old system, it’s likely that some was handed out to people not poor enough to be eligible. The cards eliminated this problem.