Efficiency, Equity and Poverty Alleviation: Policy Issues in Less Developed Countries
In this paper we start by noting that policies that help growth by improving allocational efficiency may also help the poor. We then go on to consider cases where in view of serious agency costs and coordination problems (particularly involving processes in credit and insurance markets) there may be a great deal of scope for trying redistributive projects which at the same time enhance productive efficiency, contrary to the message of efficiency-equity trade-off central to mainstream policy economics. In this context we discuss the efficiency effects of asset distribution programs like land reform. We then examine the merits and costs of targeting transfers aimed at improving their cost-effectiveness, including issues of self-selection by the poor and of targeting disadvantaged groups and backward areas. Finally, we discuss governance structures and focus on the role of self-governing institutions at the local level in improving efficiency and equity in poverty alleviation.
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