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According to the BRAC Development Institute study of a the Bandhan's Targeting the Hardcore Poor (THP) poverty graduation program, transferring non-animal petty trade assets improved the incomes of extremely poor women in India better than providing livestock (pp. 9–10). It is unclear from the report whether animal welfare is considered (or, even if considered implemented considering the economic opportunities of the participants). Thus, petty trade asset transfers should be supported as long as it can raise beneficiaries' incomes with the current cost-effectiveness while livestock transfers should not be funded, due to animal welfare concerns.


Are there any important counterarguments to this reasoning?

This program seems like a great option to resolve poverty since it seems to lift a family of 4–5 out of poverty for $379 (p. 1) or increase income from ~$200 to $1,350/year (nominal value; the real value should be more than 3× greater) (p. 27). This is competitive with GiveDirectly programming, which may offer similar or less (GD’s (total?) fiscal multiplier of 2.6) transformative results for close to $1,000. (It seems that people in GiveDirectly beneficiary areas gain a total of $2,600 for every $1,000 donated (but maybe livestock multiplication continued income is not accounted for) while THP recipients gain $1,150 every year for $379 invested; this $1,150 can still be subject to an economic multiplier that can be comparable to that in GD recipients’ areas). Targeting the Hardcore Poor is a Founders Pledge recommended women’s empowerment charity program.

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Questions like this, which involve a really specific paper or program, are much more likely to get good answers if they include a summary of the relevant parts of the paper/program.

Someone who starts reading this post will see the words "I am reading that the petty trade option...". 

Their next thoughts are likely to be "the petty trade option of what? What is this post talking about? Do I need to read this entire paper to understand the post?"

The post would be easier to understand if you started by explaining what the THP is, the fact that they've tried multiple ways of providing assets, etc.


On the question itself, the question that comes to mind for me is: Are we sure that one option is actually more effective than another, or do we still need more data? If non-conscious asset transfer was actually clearly better, I'd think that Bandhan would want to abandon the other option themselves to have more impact. If Bandhan hasn't done so, this makes me think they aren't sure that one option is actually better. (Or maybe it is better, but only in certain locations, depending on local market conditions or something like that.)

Ok the wording has been changed. This is also a semi-rhetorical question, something like, wouldn't it be better if animals weren't factory farmed by humans but rather taken considerate motivated care of in order to exchange pleasant cooperation on meaningful objectives?  These can sound a bit weird if they are presented in a way that does not compel people to empathize but rather get data in a concise manner to make further progress? Am I too influenced by the outside-of-EA world?

Yes, it makes sense. Maybe some people prefer livestock, just like many GD beneficiaries, because it provides a continuous source of income (such as from milk) and also can be sold in cases of emergencies. Still, assuming that there are enough persons who would benefit from the non-livestock transfer option (while those who would rather or more feasibly receive an animal asset would be left without funding), supporting only the non-conscious asset beneficiaries can set an important institutional norm of human economic growth not at the cost of other individuals' suffering?

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