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How effectively do public works programs transfer benefits to the poor?

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  • Haddad, Lawrence James
  • Adato, Michelle

Abstract

This paper uses project and household data to examine the ability of 100 or so public works projects in Western Cape Province, South Africa, to target benefits—both direct and indirect—to those living below the poverty line. We find that public works projects generally outperform hypothetical untargeted cash transfers in this regard under a wide range of assumptions about underlying parameters.

Suggested Citation

  • Haddad, Lawrence James & Adato, Michelle, 2001. "How effectively do public works programs transfer benefits to the poor?," FCND briefs 108, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:fcndbr:108
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Martin Ravallion & Gaurav Datt, 1995. "Is Targeting Through a Work Requirement Efficient? Some Evidence for Rural India," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-41, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    2. Mills, Bradford F. & Alwang, Jeffrey Roger & Hazarika, Gautam, 2000. "The Impact Of Welfare Reform Across Metropolitan And Non-Metropolitan Areas: A Non-Parametric Analysis," 2000 Annual meeting, July 30-August 2, Tampa, FL 21760, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    3. K. Subbarao, 1997. "Public Works as an Anti-Poverty Program: An Overview of Cross-Country Experience," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(2), pages 678-683.
    4. Peck, Jamie & Theodore, Nikolas, 2000. "Commentary: 'Work First': Workfare and the Regulation of Contingent Labour Markets," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 119-138, January.
    5. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 2000. "Welfare to Work in the U.S.: A Model for Other Developed Nations?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 7(1), pages 95-114, February.
    6. Stephan Klasen, 1997. "Poverty, Inequality and Deprivation in South Africa: An Analysis of the 1993 SALDRU Survey," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 51-94, July.
    7. Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Appraising Workfare," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 31-48, February.
    8. Bouis, Howarth E., 1994. "Agricultural technology and food policy to combat iron deficiency in developing countries," FCND discussion papers 1, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    Keywords

    Public works. ; Subsidies. ;

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