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Political Connections and Social Networks in Targeted Transfer Programmes: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia

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  • Bet Caeyers
  • Stefan Dercon

Abstract

In many developing countries, the beneficiaries of transfer programmes are determined by community-based processes, based on some general targeting rules related to needs. This opens the door for local social and political processes to impact on who gets access. Despite increasingly large scale social protection programmes in Africa, we have limited evidence on the political economy processes involved. We focus on Ethiopia were the local political authorities are in charge of food aid transfers. We investigate whether social networks and political connections matter for access. We find evidence for the hypothesis that the process results in the targeting of households that cannot easily rely on support from relatives or friends. On average, for each additional person the household can rely on in times of need, the probability of this household of obtaining food aid decreases with almost 1 percentage point. We also find strong evidence of political connections and favouritism. Households having close associates holding official positions have, ceteris paribus, more than 10 percent higher probability of obtaining free food than households that are not well connected with powerful households. We do not find evidence for the hypothesis that other social networks in the community influence the food aid allocation process. Finally, investigating reverse causality, we find no evidence that social and political networks are affected by the food aid transfer system.

Suggested Citation

  • Bet Caeyers & Stefan Dercon, 2008. "Political Connections and Social Networks in Targeted Transfer Programmes: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," CSAE Working Paper Series 2008-33, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2008-33
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    Cited by:

    1. Véronique Gille, 2016. "Application for social programs: the role of local politics and caste networks in affirmative action in India," Working Papers DT/2016/13, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    2. Yoshito Takasaki, 2011. "How is disaster aid allocated within poor villages?," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2011-004, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba.
    3. repec:eee:wdevel:v:96:y:2017:i:c:p:326-342 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Guojun He & Shaoda Wang, 2016. "Do College Graduates Serving as Village Officials Help Rural China?," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2016-39, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Nov 2016.
    5. repec:eee:wdevel:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:299-319 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Manabu Nose, 2014. "Micro Responses to Disaster Relief Aid: Design Problems for Aid Efficacy," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62(4), pages 727-767.
    7. Muhammad Haseeb & Kate Vyborny, 2016. "Imposing institutions: Evidence from cash transfer reform in Pakistan," CSAE Working Paper Series 2016-36, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    8. Gelo Dambala & Muchapondwa Edwin & Shimeles Abebe, 2017. "Working Paper 288 - Return to Investment in Agricultural Cooperatives in Ethiopia," Working Paper Series 2406, African Development Bank.
    9. Abay, Kibrom A. & Kahsay, Goytom A. & Berhane, Guush, 2014. "Social networks and factor markets: Panel data evidence from Ethiopia:," ESSP working papers 68, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Duru, Maya Joan, 2016. "Too Certain to Invest? Public Safety Nets and Insurance Markets in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 37-51.
    11. Laura Camfield, 2014. "Growing Up in Ethiopia and Andhra Pradesh: The Impact of Social Protection Schemes on Girls’ Roles and Responsibilities," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 26(1), pages 107-123, January.
    12. Simons, Andrew M., 2016. "What is the optimal locus of control for social assistance programs? Evidence from the productive safety net programme in Ethiopia," ESSP working papers 86, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    13. Newman Carol & Zhang Mengyang, 2015. "Connections and the Allocation of Public Benefits," WIDER Working Paper Series 031, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    14. Knippenberg, Erwin & Hoddinott, John F., 2017. "Shocks, social protection, and resilience: Evidence from Ethiopia," ESSP working papers 109, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    15. Azam Chaudhry & Kate Vyborny, 2013. "Patronage in Rural Punjab: Evidence from a New Household Survey Dataset," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 18(Special E), pages 183-209, September.
    16. Gelo, Dambala & Muchapondwa, Edwin & Koch, Steven F., 2016. "Decentralization, market integration and efficiency-equity trade-offs: Evidence from Joint Forest Management in Ethiopian villages," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 1-23.
    17. Khan, Qaiser & Faguet, Jean-Paul & Ambel, Alemayehu, 2017. "Blending Top-Down Federalism with Bottom-Up Engagement to Reduce Inequality in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 326-342.
    18. repec:oup:jleorg:v:33:y:2017:i:2:p:268-300. is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Christine Buttorff & Antonio J. Trujillo & Fernando Ruiz & Jeannette L. Amaya, 2015. "Low rural health insurance take-up in a universal coverage system: perceptions of health insurance among the uninsured in La Guajira, Colombia," International Journal of Health Planning and Management, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(2), pages 98-110, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Food aid; transfers; political economy; Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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