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Poverty, inequality, and geographic targeting: Evidence from Small-Area Estimates in Mozambique

  • Simler, Kenneth R.
  • Nhate, Virgulino

"Typical living standards surveys can provide a wealth of information about welfare levels, poverty, and other household and individual characteristics. However, these estimates are necessarily at a high level of aggregation, because such surveys usually include only a few thousand households, with coarse spatial stratification. Larger databases, such as national censuses, provide sufficient observations for more disaggregated analysis, but typically collect very little socioeconomic information. This paper combines data from the 1996–97 Mozambique National Household Survey of Living Conditions with the 1997 National Population and Housing Census to generate small-area (subdistrict) estimates of welfare, poverty, and inequality, with the associated standard errors. These small-area estimates are then used to explore several dimensions of poverty and inequality in Mozambique, particularly with regard to geographical targeting of antipoverty efforts. Reliably identifying and targeting the poor can be administratively costly, especially in rural Africa, where low population density and weak administrative capacity are common. Geographical targeting, or targeting poor areas, is sometimes proposed as a feasible alternative to targeting poor people, and poverty maps may serve as a valuable tool in this regard. Unfortunately, the notion of poor areas might not always be especially useful, as appears to be the case in Mozambique. The poverty maps do not reveal a particularly strong spatial concentration of poverty; the differences in poverty levels between areas tend to be subtle. This pattern is also observed in the decomposition of small-area inequality estimates, which shows that only about 20 percent of consumption inequality is accounted for by inequality between districts or between administrative posts. The picture that emerges of the poor living alongside the nonpoor indicates that targeting poor areas is likely to result in leakage to the nonpoor in that area, and considerable under-coverage of the significant numbers of poor households in areas that are less poor.”" Authors' Abstract

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series FCND discussion papers with number 192.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:fcnddp:192
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  1. Harold Alderman & Miriam Babita & Gabriel Demombynes & Nthabiseng Makhatha & Berk �zler, 2002. "How Low Can You Go? Combining Census and Survey Data for Mapping Poverty in South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 11(2), pages 169-200, June.
  2. Fafchamps, Marcel & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 1999. "Social roles, human capital, and the intrahousehold division of labor," FCND discussion papers 73, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Jayne, Thomas S. & Yamano, Takashi & Weber, Michael T. & Tschirley, David L. & Benfica, Rui M.S. & Neven, David & Chapoto, Antony & Zulu, Ballard, 2001. "Smallholder Income and Land Distribution in Africa: Implications for Poverty Reduction Strategies," Food Security International Development Papers 54047, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  4. Tarp, Finn & Simler, Kenneth & Matusse, Cristina & Heltberg, Rasmus & Dava, Gabriel, 2002. "The robustness of poverty profiles reconsidered," FCND discussion papers 124, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. Hentschel, Jesko, et al, 2000. "Combining Census and Survey Data to Trace the Spatial Dimensions of Poverty: A Case Study of Ecuador," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 147-65, January.
  6. Handa, Sudhanshu, 2002. "Raising primary school enrolment in developing countries: The relative importance of supply and demand," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 103-128, October.
  7. 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).
  8. Handa, Sudhanshu & Simler, Kenneth, 2000. "Quality or quantity?," FCND briefs 83, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 1997. "Poor areas, or only poor people?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1798, The World Bank.
  10. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1983. "On an Extension of the Gini Inequality Index," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(3), pages 617-28, October.
  11. Chris Elbers & Jean O. Lanjouw & Peter Lanjouw, 2003. "Micro--Level Estimation of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 355-364, January.
  12. Datt, Gaurav & Simler, Kenneth & Mukherjee, Sanjukta & Dava, Gabriel, 2000. "Determinants of poverty in Mozambique (1996-97)," FCND discussion papers 78, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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