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Estimating the Benefit Incidence of an Antipoverty Program by Propensity-Score Matching

  • Jalan, Jyotsna
  • Ravallion, Martin

We apply recent advances in propensity-score matching (PSM) to the problem of estimating the distribution of net income gains from an Argentinean workfare program. PSM has a number of attractive features in this context, including the need to allow for heterogeneous impacts, while optimally weighting observed characteristics when forming a comparison group. The average direct gain to the participant is found to be about half the gross wage. Over half of the beneficiaries are in the poorest decile nationally, and 80% are in the poorest quintile. Our PSM estimator is reasonably robust to a number of changes in methodology.

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Article provided by American Statistical Association in its journal Journal of Business and Economic Statistics.

Volume (Year): 21 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 19-30

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Handle: RePEc:bes:jnlbes:v:21:y:2003:i:1:p:19-30
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  1. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity score matching methods for non-experimental causal studies," Discussion Papers 0102-14, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  2. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1991. "Workfare vs. Welfare: Incentive Arguments For Work Requirements In Poverty Allevation Programs," Papers 73, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program.
  4. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "Transfer Benefits from Public-Works Employment: Evidence for Rural India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1346-69, November.
  5. Manski, Charles F & Lerman, Steven R, 1977. "The Estimation of Choice Probabilities from Choice Based Samples," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(8), pages 1977-88, November.
  6. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
  7. Arulampalam, W. & Robin A. Naylor & Jeremy P. Smith, 2002. "University of Warwick," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 9, Royal Economic Society.
  8. Ravallion, Martin, 2000. "Monitoring Targeting Performance When Decentralized Allocations to the Poor Are Unobserved," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 331-45, May.
  9. Lipton, Michael & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Poverty and policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1130, The World Bank.
  10. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," NBER Working Papers 6699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ravallion, Martin, 1991. "Reaching the Rural Poor through Public Employment: Arguments, Evidence, and Lessons from South Asia," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 6(2), pages 153-75, July.
  12. Daniel Friedlander & David H. Greenberg & Philip K. Robins, 1997. "Evaluating Government Training Programs for the Economically Disadvantaged," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1809-1855, December.
  13. K. Subbarao, 1997. "Public Works as an Anti-Poverty Program: An Overview of Cross-Country Experience," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(2), pages 678-683.
  14. Atkinson, A B, 1987. "On the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 749-64, July.
  15. Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Appraising Workfare," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 31-48, February.
  16. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  17. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
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