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Is In-Kind Kinder Than Cash? The Impact of Money Vs. Food Aid On Social Emotions and Aid Take-Up
There has been widespread endorsement from the academic and philanthropic communities on the new model of giving cash to the poor. Yet the recipient’s perspective has mostly been ignored. The present research explores how food insecure individuals feel and respond when offered either monetary or food aid. Results from four pre-registered experiments—a field experiment in Kenya and three online experiments in the U.S.—suggest that individuals are less likely to take-up monetary aid than food aid because monetary aid compared to food aid elicits more of a market-pricing relationship and less of a communal sharing relationship and, hence, makes people feel less positive (e.g., feeling cared for) and more negative (e.g., feeling ashamed) social emotions when receiving help.