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Targeting with Agents

Author

Listed:
  • Paul Niehaus
  • Antonia Atanassova
  • Marianne Bertrand
  • Sendhil Mullainathan

Abstract

Targeting assistance to the poor is a central problem in development. We study the problem of designing a proxy means test when the implementing agent is corruptible. Conditioning on more poverty indicators may worsen targeting in this environment because of a novel tradeoff between statistical accuracy and enforceability. We then test necessary conditions for this tradeoff using data on Below Poverty Line card allocation in India. Less eligible households pay larger bribes and are less likely to obtain cards, but widespread rule violations yield a de facto allocation much less progressive than the de jure one. Enforceability appears to matter. (JEL D12, I32, I38, O12, O15)

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Niehaus & Antonia Atanassova & Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2013. "Targeting with Agents," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 206-238, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:5:y:2013:i:1:p:206-38
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.5.1.206
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Niehaus, Paul & Sukhtankar, Sandip, 2013. "The marginal rate of corruption in public programs: Evidence from India," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 52-64.
    2. Mark Schreiner, 2015. "A Comparison of Two Simple, Low-Cost Ways for Local, Pro-Poor Organizations to Measure the Poverty of Their Participants," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 124(2), pages 537-569, November.
    3. Kishore, Avinash & Chakrabarti, Suman, 2015. "Is more inclusive more effective? The “new-style†public distribution system in India:," IFPRI discussion papers 1421, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Gadenne, Lucie, 2018. "Do Ration Shop Systems Increase Welfare? Theory and an Application to India," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1149, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    5. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 2016. "Policies for a better-fed world," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 152(1), pages 3-17, February.
    6. Muhammad Haseeb & Kate Vyborny, 2016. "Imposing institutions: Evidence from cash transfer reform in Pakistan," CSAE Working Paper Series 2016-36, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    7. Schleicher, Michael & Souares, Aurélia & Pacere, Athanase Narangoro & Sauerborn, Rainer & Klonner, Stefan, 2016. "Decentralized versus Statistical Targeting of Anti-Poverty Programs: Evidence from Burkina Faso," Working Papers 0623, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    8. Stoeffler, Quentin & Mills, Bradford & del Ninno, Carlo, 2016. "Reaching the Poor: Cash Transfer Program Targeting in Cameroon," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 244-263.
    9. Bah, Adama & Bazzi, Samuel & Sumarto, Sudarno & Tobias, Julia, 2014. "Finding the Poor vs. Measuring Their Poverty: Exploring the Drivers of Targeting Effectiveness in Indonesia," MPRA Paper 59759, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Abhijit Banerjee, 2015. "Policies for a Better-Fed World," Working Papers id:7623, eSocialSciences.
    11. repec:eee:pubeco:v:156:y:2017:i:c:p:150-169 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Kishore, Avinash & Chakrabarti, Suman, 2015. "Is more inclusive more effective? The ‘New Style’ public distribution system in India," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 117-130.
    13. Guojun He & Shaoda Wang, 2016. "Do College Graduates Serving as Village Officials Help Rural China?," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2016-39, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Nov 2016.
    14. Stephan Klasen & Simon Lange, 2016. "How Narrowly Should Anti-poverty Programs Be Targeted? Simulation Evidence from Bolivia and Indonesia," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 213, Courant Research Centre PEG.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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