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Targeting the Poor: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia

Author

Listed:
  • Vivi Alatas
  • Abhijit Banerjee
  • Rema Hanna
  • Benjamin A. Olken
  • Julia Tobias

Abstract

This paper reports an experiment in 640 Indonesian villages on three approaches to target the poor: proxy means tests (PMT), where assets are used to predict consumption; community targeting, where villagers rank everyone from richest to poorest; and a hybrid. Defining poverty based on PPP$2 per capita consumption, community targeting and the hybrid perform somewhat worse in identifying the poor than PMT, though not by enough to significantly affect poverty outcomes for a typical program. Elite capture does not explain these results. Instead, communities appear to apply a different concept of poverty. Consistent with this finding, community targeting results in higher satisfaction. (JEL C93, I32, I38, O12, O15, O18, R23)

Suggested Citation

  • 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 1206-1240, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:4:p:1206-40
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    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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