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Targeting with Agents

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Author Info

  • Paul Niehaus
  • Antonia Atanassova
  • Marianne Bertrand
  • Sendhil Mullainathan

Abstract

Targeting assistance to the poor is a central problem in development. We study the problem of designing a proxy means test when the implementing agent is corruptible. Conditioning on more poverty indicators may worsen targeting in this environment because of a novel tradeoff between statistical accuracy and enforceability. We then test necessary conditions for this tradeoff using data on Below Poverty Line card allocation in India. Less eligible households pay larger bribes and are less likely to obtain cards, but widespread rule violations yield a de facto allocation much less progressive than the de jure one. Enforceability appears to matter. (JEL D12, I32, I38, O12, O15)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 206-38

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:5:y:2013:i:1:p:206-38

Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.5.1.206
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Cited by:
  1. Niehaus, Paul & Sukhtankar, Sandip, 2013. "The marginal rate of corruption in public programs: Evidence from India," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 52-64.

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