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How relevant is targeting to the success of an antipoverty program ?

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  • Ravallion, Martin

Abstract

Policy-oriented discussions often assume that"better targeting"implies larger impacts on poverty or more cost-effective interventions. The literature on the economics of targeting warns against that assumption, but evidence has been scarce. The paper begins with a critical review of the strengths and weaknesses of the targeting measures found in practice. It then exploits an unusually large micro data set for China to estimate aggregate and local-level poverty impacts of the country's main urban antipoverty program. Standard measures of targeting are found to be uninformative, or even deceptive, about impacts on poverty and cost-effectiveness in reducing poverty. In program design and evaluation, it would be better to focus directly on the program's outcomes for poor people than to rely on prevailing measures of targeting.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4385.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4385

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Related research

Keywords: Services&Transfers to Poor; Poverty Monitoring&Analysis; Population Policies; Poverty Impact Evaluation; Poverty Reduction Strategies;

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Cited by:
  1. de Janvry, Alain & Finan, Frederico S. & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2010. "Local Electoral Incentives and Decentralized Program Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 5382, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Segal, Paul, 2011. "Resource Rents, Redistribution, and Halving Global Poverty: The Resource Dividend," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 475-489, April.
  3. Gundersen, Craig & Jolliffe, Dean & Tiehen, Laura, 2009. "The challenge of program evaluation: When increasing program participation decreases the relative well-being of participants," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 367-376, August.

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