Anti-Poverty Transfers without Riots in Tunisia
We draw some lessons from the Tunisian experience of social reforms and associated unrest. Our main interest is the riots that occurred after subsidy cuts and the attempts at substitution of price subsidies by direct cash transfers. We propose new welfare indicators to assess reforms in such situations. Using micro level data, we show that plausible policy decisions depend on parameters describing the balance between poverty and program exclusion risk. In the Tunisian case, only a much larger weight put on poverty relatively to exclusion could bring the decision maker to substitute in force price subsidies with direct cash transfers.
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