IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

How Useful Are Benefit Incidence Analyses of Public Education and Health Spending

  • Erwin Tiongson
  • Hamid Reza Davoodi
  • Sawitree S. Asawanuchit
Registered author(s):

    This paper provides a primer on benefit incidence analysis (BIA) for macroeconomists and a new data set on the benefit incidence of education and health spending covering 56 countries over 1960-2000, representing a significant improvement in quality and coverage over existing compilations. The paper demonstrates the usefulness of BIA in two dimensions. First, the paper finds, among other things, that overall education and health spending are poorly targeted; benefits from primary education and primary health care go disproportionately to the middle class, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, HIPCs and transition economies; but targeting has improved in the 1990s. Second, simple measures of association show that countries with a more propoor incidence of education and health spending tend to have better education and health outcomes, good governance, high per capita income, and wider accessibility to information. The paper explores policy implications of these findings.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 03/227.

    in new window

    Length: 48
    Date of creation: 01 Nov 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:03/227
    Contact details of provider: Postal: International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC USA
    Phone: (202) 623-7000
    Fax: (202) 623-4661
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Web:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Benedict J. Clements & Gabriela Inchauste & Nita Thacker & Thomas William Dorsey & Shamsuddin Tareq & Emanuele Baldacci & Sanjeev Gupta & Mark W. Plant, 2002. "Is the PRGF Living Up to Expectations?," IMF Occasional Papers 216, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Are poorer states worse at targeting their poor?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 373-377, December.
    3. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Aggregating governance indicators," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2195, The World Bank.
    4. Chu, K.-y. & Davoodi, H. & Gupta, S., 2000. "Income Distribution and Tax, and Government Social Spending Policies in Developing Countries," Research Paper 214, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
    5. Psacharopoulos, George, 1994. "Returns to investment in education: A global update," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1325-1343, September.
    6. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Paci, Pierella, 1989. "Equity in the Finance and Delivery of Health Care: Some Tentative Cross-country Comparisons," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 89-112, Spring.
    7. Ke-young Chu & Hamid Reza Davoodi & Sanjeev Gupta, 2000. "Income Distribution and Tax and Government Social Spending Policies in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 00/62, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Easterly, William, 2000. "the middle class consensus and economic development," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2346, The World Bank.
    9. Tanzi, Vito & Zee, Howell H., 2000. "Tax Policy for Emerging Markets: Developing Countries," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 2), pages 299-322, June.
    10. David E. Sahn & Stephen D. Younger, 1999. "Dominance Testing of Social Sector Expenditures and Taxes in Africa," IMF Working Papers 99/172, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Filmer, Deon & Hammer, Jeffrey & Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Health policy in poor countries : weak links in the chain," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1874, The World Bank.
    12. Lanjouw, Peter & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Benefit Incidence, Public Spending Reforms, and the Timing of Program Capture," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 257-73, May.
    13. O'Higgins, Michael & Ruggles, Patricia, 1981. "The Distribution of Public Expenditures and Taxes among Households in the United Kingdom," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 27(3), pages 298-326, September.
    14. Atkinson, A.B., 2000. "Increased Income Inequality in OECD Countries and the Redistributive Impact of the Government Budget," Research Paper 202, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
    15. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Hossain, Shaikh I., 1998. "The combined incidence of taxes and public expenditures in the Philippines," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 963-977, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:03/227. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jim Beardow)

    or (Hassan Zaidi)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.