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Selecting a Targeting Method to Identify BPL Households in India

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  • Sabina Alkire and Suman Seth

Abstract

This paper proposes how to select a methodology to target multidimensionally poor households, and how to update that targeting exercise periodically. We present this methodology in the context of discussions regarding the selection of a targeting methodology in India. In 1992, 1997, and 2002 the Indian government identified households that are Below the Poverty Line (BPL) and in updating the 2002 methodology, alternative methods have been proposed and vigorously debated. A fourth BPL method was published and a corresponding Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), implemented. Using the third National Family Health Survey (NFHS3), this paper illustrates how a BPL targeting method using SECC variables might be calibrated to a multidimensional poverty measure. This paper compares the fit between a benchmark measure of multidimensional poverty and several plausible targeting methods to determine which method(s) approximate it - as well as related measures - most closely. We find a ten-item binary scoring method, which uses variables already available in the SECC questionnaire, provides a strong proxy. The emphasis of this paper is to illustrate how a particular targeting method can be justified, rather than to advocate any particular solution.

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Paper provided by Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford in its series OPHI Working Papers with number ophiwp053.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:qeh:ophiwp:ophiwp053

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  1. Rajindar Sachar & Saiyid Hamid & T.K. Oommen & M.A. Basith & Rakesh Basant & Akhtar Majeed & Abusaleh Shariff, 2006. "Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India," Development Economics Working Papers 22136, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  2. Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Maria Ana Lugo, 2013. "Multidimensional Poverty Analysis: Looking for a Middle Ground," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 28(2), pages 220-235, August.
  3. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
  4. Vivi Alatas & Abhijit Banerjee & Rema Hanna & Benjamin A. Olken & Julia Tobias, 2010. "Targeting the Poor: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," NBER Working Papers 15980, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Piketty, Thomas & Qian, Nancy, 2006. "Income Inequality and Progressive Income Taxation in China and India, 1986-2015," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5703, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Olken, Benjamin A., 2006. "Corruption and the costs of redistribution: Micro evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 853-870, May.
  7. Alkire, Sabina & Foster, James, 2011. "Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 476-487, August.
  8. Amartya Sen, 2004. "Capabilities, Lists, And Public Reason: Continuing The Conversation," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 77-80.
  9. Atkinson, Tony & Cantillon, Bea & Marlier, Eric & Nolan, Brian, 2002. "Social Indicators: The EU and Social Inclusion," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780199253494, October.
  10. Bejoy Thomas & Roldan Muradian & Gerard De Groot & Arie De Ruijter, 2009. "Multidimensional Poverty and Identification of Poor Households: A Case from Kerala, India," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 237-257.
  11. Sabina Alkire and Suman Seth, 2012. "Identifying BPL Households: A Comparison of Methods," OPHI Working Papers, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford ophiwp054, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
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Cited by:
  1. Sabina Alkire and Suman Seth, 2013. "Multidimensional Poverty Reduction in India between 1999 and 2006: Where and How?," OPHI Working Papers, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford ophiwp060, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.

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