IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Proxy Means Tests for Targeting the Poorest Households -- Applications to Uganda


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


The motivation for this research stems from increasing interest showed for the issue of targeting. The paper explores the use of proxy means tests to identify the poorest households in Uganda. The set of indicators used in our model includes variables usually available in Living Standard Measurement Surveys (LSMS). Previous researches seeking to develop proxy means tests for poverty most often use Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) as regression method. In addition to the OLS, the paper explores the use of Linear Probability Model, Probit, and Quantile regressions for correctly predicting the household poverty status. A further innovation of this research compared to the existing literature is the use of out-of sample validation tests to assess the predictive power and hence the robustness of the identified set of regressors. Moreover, the confidence intervals are approximated out-of sample using the bootstrap algorithm and the percentile method. The main conclusion that emerges from this research is that measures of absolute poverty estimated with Quantile regression can yield fairly accurate in-sample predictions of absolute poverty in a nationally representative sample. On the other hand, the OLS and Probit perform better out-of sample. Besides it complexity, the Quantile regression is less robust. The Probit may be the best alternative for optimizing both accuracy and robustness of a poverty assessment tool. The best regressor sets and their derived weights can be used in a range of applications, including the identification of the poorest households in the country, the assessment of poverty outreach of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), and the measurement of poverty and welfare impacts of agricultural development projects. To confirm or reject the conclusions in this paper, future research using datasets from other countries is needed.

Suggested Citation

  • Houssou, Nazaire & Zeller, Manfred & Alcaraz V., Gabriela & Schwarze, Stefan & Johannsen, Julia, 2007. "Proxy Means Tests for Targeting the Poorest Households -- Applications to Uganda," 106th Seminar, October 25-27, 2007, Montpellier, France 7946, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa106:7946
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.7946

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ahmed, Akhter U. & Rashid, Shahidur & Sharma, Manohar & Zohir, Sajjad, 2004. "Food aid distribution in Bangladesh," FCND briefs 173, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. 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.
    3. Grootaert, Christiaan & Braithwaite, Jeanine, 1998. "Poverty correlates and indicator-based targeting in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1942, The World Bank.
    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. Barrios, Erniel B. & Mina, Christian D., 2009. "Profiling Poverty with Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines," Discussion Papers DP 2009-29, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    2. Dmytro Boyarchuk & Liudmyla Kotusenko & Katarzyna Pietka-Kosinska & Roman Semko & Irina Sinitsina, 2009. "Agriculture Income Assessment for the Purpose of Social Assistance: the Case of Ukraine," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 0399, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
    3. Delalić Adela & Abdić Ademir & Halilbašić Muamer & Šćeta Lamija, 2020. "Assesing efficiency of targeting in social services in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina," Croatian Review of Economic, Business and Social Statistics, Sciendo, vol. 6(1), pages 56-74, May.
    4. Mohamed Bakhshoodeh, 2013. "Proxy Means Tests for Targeting Subsidies Scheme in Iran," Working Papers 795, Economic Research Forum, revised Nov 2013.


    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:ags:eaa106:7946. 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: (AgEcon Search). 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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.