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Are the welfare losses from imperfect targeting important?

  • Skoufias, Emmanuel
  • Coady, David P.

The authors evaluate the size of the welfare losses from using alternative “imperfect” welfare indicators as substitutes for the conventionally preferred consumption indicator. They find that whereas the undercoverage and leakage welfare indices always suggest substantial losses, and the poverty indices suggest substantial losses for the worst performing indices, their preferred welfare index based on standard welfare theory suggests much smaller welfare losses. They also find that one cannot reject the hypothesis that the welfare losses associated with using the better performing alternative indicators are zero. In the case of their preferred welfare index, this reflects the fact that most of the targeting errors, i.e., exclusion and inclusion errors, are highly concentrated around the poverty line so that the differences in welfare weights between those receiving and not receiving the transfers are insufficient to make a difference to the overall welfare impact.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series FCND discussion papers with number 125.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:fcnddp:125
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  1. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521265638 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521397421 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Ravallion, M., 1992. "Poverty Comparisons - A Guide to Concepts and Methods," Papers 88, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
  4. Subramanian, Shankar & Deaton, Angus, 1996. "The Demand for Food and Calories," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 133-62, February.
  5. Deaton, A. & Zaidi, S., 1999. "Guidelines for Constructing Consumption Aggregates for Welfare Analysis," Papers 192, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  6. 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).
  7. Behrman, Jere R. & Deolalikar, Anil B., 1988. "Health and nutrition," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 631-711 Elsevier.
  8. Glewwe, Paul & van der Gaag, Jacques, 1990. "Identifying the poor in developing countries: Do different definitions matter?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 803-814, June.
  9. Dreze, Jean & Stern, Nicholas, 1987. "The theory of cost-benefit analysis," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 14, pages 909-989 Elsevier.
  10. Giovanni Andrea Cornia & Frances Stewart, 1993. "Two errors of targeting," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(5), pages 459-496, 09.
    • Giovanni Andrea Cornia & Frances Stewart, 1993. "Two Errors of Targeting," Papers iopeps93/54, Innocenti Occasional Papers, Economic Policy Series.
  11. Chaudhuri, Shubham & Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "How well do static indicators identify the chronically poor?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 367-394, March.
  12. Schady, Norbert R, 2002. "Picking the Poor: Indicators for Geographic Targeting in Peru," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(3), pages 417-33, September.
  13. Ravallion, Martin, 1989. "Land-contingent poverty alleviation schemes," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(8), pages 1223-1233, August.
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