Private Information and the Allocation of Land Use Subsidies in Malawi
Efficient targeting of public programs is difficult when the cost or benefit to potential recipients is private information. This study illustrates the potential of self-selection to improve allocational outcomes in the context of a program that subsidizes tree planting in Malawi. Landholders who received a tree planting contract as a result of bidding in an auction kept significantly more trees alive over a three year period than did landholders who received the contract through a lottery. The gains from targeting on private information through the auction represent a 30 percent cost savings per surviving tree for the implementing organization.
Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
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