This study examines the role of Ethiopia’s productive safety net program (PSNP) and its modes of benefit transfer in vulnerability to nutritional outcomes among female- and male-headed households
(FHHs and MHHs). We model a panel switching regression in a counterfactual framework to account for unobserved individual heterogeneity. We find an inverse relationship between PSNP participation and households’ vulnerability to low dietary intake and diet diversity. Our findings confirm that vulnerability is reduced more with cash plus food transfers compared to each mechanism in isolation. The results suggest strong complementarity between the benefit transfer modalities. The study also finds that FHHs are more vulnerable than MHHs to low dietary diversity in the absence of PSNP participation. However, irrespective of the mode of benefit transfer, PSNP participation makes FHHs less vulnerable to poor
nutrition outcomes. The study sheds some light on the debate on the design of benefit transfer in social protection programs.
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