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The Cost of Poverty Alleviation Transfer Programs: A Comparative Analysis of Three Programs in Latin America

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  • John Maluccio

    ()

  • Natàlia Caldés

    ()

  • David Coady

    ()

Abstract

A common criticism of antipoverty programs is that the high share of administrative (nontransfer) costs substantially reduces their effectiveness. Yet, there is surprisingly little rigorous empirical evidence on program costs. Improved information and a better understanding of the costs of such programs are crucial for effective policymaking. This study proposes and implements a replicable methodology for a comparative cost analysis of three similar poverty alleviation programs in Latin America, and assesses their cost efficiency. The findings underscore that any credible assessment of cost-efficiency requires a detailed analysis of program cost structures that goes well beyond simply providing aggregate cost information.

Suggested Citation

  • John Maluccio & Natàlia Caldés & David Coady, 2005. "The Cost of Poverty Alleviation Transfer Programs: A Comparative Analysis of Three Programs in Latin America," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0527, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0527
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    File URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/services/econ/repec/mdl/ancoec/0527.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Newman, John & Rawlings, Laura & Gertler, Paul, 1994. "Using Randomized Control Designs in Evaluating Social Sector Programs in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 9(2), pages 181-201, July.
    2. Hoddinott, John & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 2004. "The Impact of PROGRESA on Food Consumption," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 37-61, October.
    3. Jere R. Behrman & John Hoddinott, 2005. "Programme Evaluation with Unobserved Heterogeneity and Selective Implementation: The Mexican "PROGRESA" Impact on Child Nutrition," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(4), pages 547-569, August.
    4. Coady, David & Perez, Raul & Vera-Ilamas, Hadid, 2005. "Evaluating the cost of poverty alleviation transfer programs: An Illustration Based on PROGRESA in Mexico," FCND discussion papers 199, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Maluccio, John A. & Flores, Rafael, 2005. "Impact evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program: the Nicaraguan Red de Protección Social," Research reports 141, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Coady, David P., 2001. "An evaluation of the distributional power of PROGRESA's cash transfers in Mexico," FCND briefs 117, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
    8. Behrman, Jere R & Sengupta, Piyali & Todd, Petra, 2005. "Progressing through PROGRESA: An Impact Assessment of a School Subsidy Experiment in Rural Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 237-275, October.
    9. Coady, David P., 2001. "An evaluation of the distributional power of PROGRESA's cash transfers in Mexico," FCND discussion papers 117, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Natàlia Caldés & John A. Maluccio, 2005. "The cost of conditional cash transfers," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 151-168.
    11. Skoufias, Emmanuel, 2005. "PROGRESA and its impacts on the welfare of rural households in Mexico:," Research reports 139, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    Keywords

    cost efficiency; poverty alleviation; human capital; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua;

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