IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Poverty Reduction Capacity of Public and Private Transfers in Transition


  • Paolo Verme


The transitional economies of the Former Soviet Union have enjoyed an extraordinary period of growth and poverty reduction between 2000 and 2007 and this occurred in concomitance with significant increases in private and public transfers to households. The article assesses the relative importance of these transfers for welfare and poverty in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe. A longitudinal analysis based on panel data reveals that private transfers and social insurance transfers are effective in improving welfare and reducing poverty whereas social assistance transfers have little or no effect. Social insurance and social assistance seem to have swapped roles. Social insurance is most relevant for lifting people out of poverty while social assistance - if anything - has a small role in protecting the non-poor from falling into poverty. We also find that the different types of transfers do not crowd-out each other and that social insurance may in fact reinforce the capacity of private transfers to reduce poverty. Such findings have several policy implications for the near future: (a) poor households in Former Soviet Union transitional economies remain highly vulnerable to shocks in public and private transfers; (b) the 2008-2009 recession is likely to expose this vulnerability and result in a surge in poverty larger than expected; and (c) the social assistance systems remain in great need of pro-poor reforms and cannot currently provide an adequate protection from economic shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Verme, 2011. "The Poverty Reduction Capacity of Public and Private Transfers in Transition," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(6), pages 870-893.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:47:y:2011:i:6:p:870-893
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2010.514334

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stefano Paternostro & Anand Rajaram & Erwin R. Tiongson, 2007. "How Does the Composition of Public Spending Matter?," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 47-82.
    2. Jayne, T. S. & Govereh, J. & Mwanaumo, A. & Nyoro, J. K. & Chapoto, A., 2002. "False Promise or False Premise? The Experience of Food and Input Market Reform in Eastern and Southern Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 1967-1985, November.
    3. Jung, Hong-Sang & Thorbecke, Erik, 2003. "The impact of public education expenditure on human capital, growth, and poverty in Tanzania and Zambia: a general equilibrium approach," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 701-725, November.
    4. Dominique van de Walle, 2003. "Are Returns to Investment Lower for the Poor? Human and Physical Capital Interactions in Rural Vietnam," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(4), pages 636-653, November.
    5. Lopez, Ramon & Galinato, Gregmar I., 2007. "Should governments stop subsidies to private goods? Evidence from rural Latin America," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1071-1094, June.
    6. Teferra, Mengistu, 2002. "Power sector reforms in Ethiopia: options for promoting local investments in rural electrification," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(11-12), pages 967-975, September.
    7. Wolde-Ghiorgis, W., 2002. "Renewable energy for rural development in Ethiopia: the case for new energy policies and institutional reform," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(11-12), pages 1095-1105, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Dorrit Posel, 2016. "Inter-household transfers in South Africa: prevalence, patterns and poverty," SALDRU Working Papers 180, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    2. Judith Möllers & Wiebke Meyer, 2014. "The effects of migration on poverty and inequality in rural Kosovo," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, December.
    3. Kumo, Kazuhiro, 2015. "Research on Poverty in Transition Economies: A Meta-analysis on Changes in the Determinants of Poverty," RRC Working Paper Series 51, Russian Research Center, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:47:y:2011:i:6:p:870-893. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.