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Targeting ultra-poor households in Honduras and Peru

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  • Dean Karlan
  • Bram Thuysbaert

Abstract

For policy purposes, it is important to understand the relative efficacy of various methods to target the poor. Recently, participatory methods have received particular attention. We examine the effectiveness of a hybrid two-step process that combines a participatory wealth ranking and a verification household survey, relative to two proxy means tests (the Progress out of Poverty Index and a housing index), in Honduras and Peru. The methods we examine perform similarly to one another by various metrics. They all target most accurately in the cases of the poorest and the wealthiest households but perform with mixed results among households in the middle of the distribution. Ultimately, given similar performance, the analysis suggests that costs should be the driving consideration in choosing across methods.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19646.

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Date of creation: Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19646

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  1. Ravallion, M., 1998. "Poverty Lines in Theory and Practice," Papers 133, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
  2. Chambers, Robert, 1994. "Participatory rural appraisal (PRA): Analysis of experience," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1253-1268, September.
  3. Vivi Alatas & Abhijit Banerjee & Rema Hanna & Benjamin A. Olken & Julia Tobias, 2012. "Targeting the Poor: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1206-40, June.
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