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How Best to Target the Poor? An operational targeting of the poor using indicator-based proxy means tests

  • Houssou, Nazaire
  • Zeller, Manfred
  • Alcaraz V., Gabriela
  • Johannsen, Julia
  • Schwarze, Stefan

This paper seeks to answer an operational development question: how best to target the poor? In their endeavor, policy makers, program managers, and development practitioners face the daily challenge of targeting policies, projects, and services at the poorer strata of the population. This is also the case for microfinance institutions that seek to estimate the poverty outreach among their clients. This paper addresses these challenges. Using household survey data from Uganda, we estimate four alternative models for improving the identification of the poor in the country. Furthermore, we analyze the model sensitivity to different poverty lines and test their validity using bootstrapped simulation methods. While there is bound to be some errors, no indicator being perfectly correlated with poverty, the models developed achieve fairly accurate out-of-sample predictions of absolute poverty. Furthermore, findings suggest that the estimation method is not relevant for developing a fairly accurate model for targeting the poor. The models developed are potentially useful tools for the development community in Uganda. This research can also be applied in other developing countries.

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Paper provided by African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE) & Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA) in its series 2010 AAAE Third Conference/AEASA 48th Conference, September 19-23, 2010, Cape Town, South Africa with number 95780.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ags:aaae10:95780
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  1. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521608275.
  2. N. S. Ssewanyana & A J. Okidi & D. Angemi & V. Barungi, 2004. "Understanding the determinants of income inequality in Uganda," CSAE Working Paper Series 2004-29, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  3. David P. Coady & Susan W. Parker, 2009. "Targeting Performance under Self-selection and Administrative Targeting Methods," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(3), pages 559-587, 04.
  4. Kappel, Robert & Lay, Jann & Steiner, Susan, 2005. "Uganda: No more pro-poor growth?," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 3504, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  5. Yannis Bilias & Roger Koenker, 2001. "Quantile regression for duration data: A reappraisal of the Pennsylvania Reemployment Bonus Experiments," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 199-220.
  6. Diego Angemi & N.S. Ssewanyana, 2004. "Understanding the Determinants of Income Inequality in Uganda," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2004-29, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. repec:zbw:ifwkie:3715 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Zeller, Manfred & Sharma, Manohar & Henry, Carla & Lapenu, Cecile, 2006. "An operational method for assessing the poverty outreach performance of development policies and projects: Results of case studies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 446-464, March.
  9. Omar Arias & Walter Sosa-Escudero & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "Individual heterogeneity in the returns to schooling: instrumental variables quantile regression using twins data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 7-40.
  10. Ahmed, Akhter U. & Bouis, Howarth E., 2002. "Weighing what's practical: proxy means tests for targeting food subsidies in Egypt," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5-6), pages 519-540.
  11. Kappel, Robert & Lay, Jann & Steiner, Susan, 2005. "Uganda: No more pro-poor growth?," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Kiel 2005 31, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
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