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Selecting a Targeting Method to Identify BPL Households in India

  • Sabina Alkire

    ()

  • Suman Seth

    ()

This paper proposes how to select a methodology to target multidimensionally poor households, and how to update that targeting exercise periodically. We present this methodology in the context of discussions regarding the selection of a targeting methodology in India. In 1992, 1997, and 2002 the Indian government identified households that are below the poverty line (BPL) and in updating the 2002 methodology, alternative methods have been proposed and vigorously debated. A fourth BPL method was published and a corresponding Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), implemented. Using the third National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), this paper illustrates how a BPL targeting method using SECC variables might be calibrated to a multidimensional poverty measure. This paper compares the fit between a benchmark measure of multidimensional poverty and several plausible targeting methods to determine which method(s) approximate it—as well as related measures—most closely. We find a ten-item binary scoring method, which uses variables already available in the SECC questionnaire, provides a strong proxy. The emphasis of this paper is to illustrate how a particular targeting method can be justified, rather than to advocate any particular solution. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11205-013-0254-6
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Indicators Research.

Volume (Year): 112 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 417-446

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Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:112:y:2013:i:2:p:417-446
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  1. Sabina Alkire and Suman Seth, 2012. "Identifying BPL Households: A Comparison of Methods," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp054, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  2. repec:ese:iserwp:2013-03 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Rajindar Sachar & Saiyid Hamid & T.K. Oommen & M.A. Basith & Rakesh Basant & Akhtar Majeed & Abusaleh Shariff, 2006. "Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India," Development Economics Working Papers 22136, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  4. Piketty, Thomas & Qian, Nancy, 2006. "Income Inequality and Progressive Income Taxation in China and India, 1986-2015," CEPR Discussion Papers 5703, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Alkire, Sabina & Foster, James, 2011. "Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 476-487.
  6. 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 1206-40, June.
  7. Francisco Ferreira & Maria Ana Lugo, 2012. "Multidimensional poverty analysis: Looking for a middle ground," Working Papers 251, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  8. Amartya Sen, 2004. "Capabilities, Lists, And Public Reason: Continuing The Conversation," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 77-80.
  9. Bejoy Thomas & Roldan Muradian & Gerard De Groot & Arie De Ruijter, 2009. "Multidimensional Poverty and Identification of Poor Households: A Case from Kerala, India," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 237-257.
  10. Atkinson, Tony & Cantillon, Bea & Marlier, Eric & Nolan, Brian, 2002. "Social Indicators: The EU and Social Inclusion," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199253494.
  11. Olken, Benjamin A., 2006. "Corruption and the costs of redistribution: Micro evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 853-870, May.
  12. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
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