Graduating from Ultra Poverty: Evaluating the Effect of Services in Ghana

The Graduating from Ultra Poor (GUP) program provides savings accounts, assets training, consumption support, occupational options awareness training, and health services to selected extremely poor households. Abhijit Banerjee’s research studies the effect of these services on the extremely poor, through rigorous experimental design and extensive surveying.

By varying the types of services and assistance offered to poor households, Banerjee’s research aims to analyze the impact of different types of services in conjunction with savings.

Research Questions: 
  • How and why do households fall into states of extreme poverty? What are the similarities and differences in the life stories and livelihoods of these households? How are the social networks of the extremely poor different from other households in their communities?
  • How does extreme poverty impact routine decision-making concerning savings, health, nutrition, economic activities, community participation and education? How does the socioeconomic status of these households impact the ability to deal with economic, natural or social crises?
  • How does participation in the GUP program affect everyday decision-making of extremely poor households? What shifts are visible in decisions about education, household economics, health, nutrition, participation in community events? How have the social networks of participating households changes over the course of their participation in the pilot program?
Data Notes: 

Survey Time Frame and Rounds:

  • Baseline survey, March 2011
  • Follow-up survey, July 2013
  • Endline survey, July 2014
  • Frequent mini-surveys and qualitative assessments throughout program

Survey size: 2250 households in 150 villages (The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing funding for 900 of these households)


  • 50 villages receive full GUP program
    • 25 with basic savings accounts
    • 25 with matched savings
  • 100 villages receive savings accounts only
    • 33 with basic savings
    • 33 with matched savings
    • 34 with no savings (pure control group)
Innovations for Poverty Action
Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee
Presbyterian Agricultural Services