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Are the welfare losses from imperfect targeting important?

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  • Skoufias, Emmanuel
  • Coady, David P.

Abstract

The authors evaluate the size of the welfare losses from using alternative “imperfect” welfare indicators as substitutes for the conventionally preferred consumption indicator. They find that whereas the undercoverage and leakage welfare indices always suggest substantial losses, and the poverty indices suggest substantial losses for the worst performing indices, their preferred welfare index based on standard welfare theory suggests much smaller welfare losses. They also find that one cannot reject the hypothesis that the welfare losses associated with using the better performing alternative indicators are zero. In the case of their preferred welfare index, this reflects the fact that most of the targeting errors, i.e., exclusion and inclusion errors, are highly concentrated around the poverty line so that the differences in welfare weights between those receiving and not receiving the transfers are insufficient to make a difference to the overall welfare impact.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series FCND briefs with number 125.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:fcndbr:125

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Keywords: Welfare economics. ; Poverty. ; Consumption (Economic theory). ;

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  1. Dreze, Jean & Stern, Nicholas, 1987. "The theory of cost-benefit analysis," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 14, pages 909-989 Elsevier.
  2. Bouis, Howarth E., 1994. "Agricultural technology and food policy to combat iron deficiency in developing countries," FCND discussion papers 1, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Ravallion, M., 1992. "Poverty Comparisons - A Guide to Concepts and Methods," Papers 88, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
  4. Ravallion, Martin, 1989. "Land-contingent poverty alleviation schemes," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(8), pages 1223-1233, August.
  5. Subramanian, S. & Deaton, A., 1994. "The Demand for Food and Calories," Papers 175, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  6. Giovanni Andrea Cornia & Frances Stewart, 1993. "Two Errors of Targeting," Innocenti Occasional Papers, Economic Policy Series iopeps93/54, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.
  7. Angus Deaton & Salman Zaidi, 1999. "Guidelines for Constructing Consumption Aggregates For Welfare Analysis," Working Papers 217, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  8. Schady, Norbert R., 2000. "Picking the poor : indicators for geographic targeting in Peru," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2477, The World Bank.
  9. Ahmad,Etisham & Stern,Nicholas, 1991. "The Theory and Practice of Tax Reform in Developing Countries," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521397421, April.
  10. Behrman, Jere R. & Deolalikar, Anil B., 1988. "Health and nutrition," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 631-711 Elsevier.
  11. Chaudhuri, Shubham & Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "How well do static indicators identify the chronically poor?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 367-394, March.
  12. Glewwe, Paul & van der Gaag, Jacques, 1990. "Identifying the poor in developing countries: Do different definitions matter?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 803-814, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Christophe Muller, 2008. "Anti-Poverty Transfers without Riots in Tunisia," THEMA Working Papers 2008-15, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  2. Del Rey, Elena & Estevan, Fernanda, 2013. "Conditional cash transfers and education quality in the presence of credit constraints," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 76-84.
  3. Lavallée, Emmanuelle & Olivier, Anne & Pasquier-Doumer, Laure & Robilliard, Anne-Sophie, 2010. "Poverty alleviation policy targeting: a review of experiences in developing countries," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4713, Paris Dauphine University.
  4. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Lindert, Kathy & Shapiro, Joseph, 2010. "Globalization and the Role of Public Transfers in Redistributing Income in Latin America and the Caribbean," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 895-907, June.
  5. Zeller, Manfred & Sharma, Manohar & Henry, Carla & Lapenu, Cecile, 2006. "An operational method for assessing the poverty outreach performance of development policies and projects: Results of case studies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 446-464, March.
  6. Christophe Muller, . "Anti-Poverty Transfers and Spatial Prices in Tunisia," Discussion Papers 08/13, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
  7. Christophe MULLER and Sami BIBI, 2008. "Focused Transfer Targeting against Poverty Evidence from Tunisia," THEMA Working Papers 2008-37, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.

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