IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Monitoring targeting performance when decentralized allocation to the poor are unobserved


  • Ravallion


National antipoverty programs often rely heavily on provincial governments. The center targets poor provinces in the hope that they will reach their own poor. Without successful intraprovincial targeting, however, even dramatic redistribution from rich to poor provinces can have little impact on poverty nationally. However, data for assessing performance at provincial level are often far from ideal. Can a centralized government monitor the performance of decentralized social programs in reaching the poor when their benefit incidence is unobserved? The author shows that the poverty map and the corresponding spending allocation across geographic areas allow one to identify the latent differences in mean allocations to the poor versus the nonpoor. The national measure of targeting performance is also subgroup-decomposable. The author uses an application to an antipoverty program in Argentina (Trabajar II) to assess performance in reaching the poor and the measure the relative contributions to the program's performance - before and after reforms - of the center's provincial reallocation and decentralized targeting. Funding and program design changes led to large gains for the poor, although with diverse performance across provinces. Program funding and design choices by the central government can greatly affect the targeting performance of decentralized social programs. The allocation to a province should depend on how successful it is at reaching the poor with the extra resources, rather than how poor it is. Design choices should provide incentives for provincial governments to target resources to the poor . Finding feasible ways to monitor their performance and adjust ventral government's efforts accordingly are then crucial to better outcomes for poor people.

Suggested Citation

  • Ravallion, 1999. "Monitoring targeting performance when decentralized allocation to the poor are unobserved," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2080, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2080

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Income gains to the poor from workfare - estimates for Argentina's TRABAJAR Program," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2149, The World Bank.
    2. Brown, Charles C. & Oates, Wallace E., 1987. "Assistance to the poor in a federal system," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 307-330, April.
    3. Keen, Michael & Marchand, Maurice, 1997. "Fiscal competition and the pattern of public spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 33-53, October.
    4. Wildasin, David E, 1991. "Income Redistribution in a Common Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 757-774, September.
    5. Datt, Gaurav*Ravallion, Martin, 1990. "Regional disparities, targeting, and poverty in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 375, The World Bank.
    6. Hoff, Karla, 2008. "Joseph E. Stiglitz," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4478, The World Bank.
    7. David Bigman & Stefan Dercon & Dominique Guillaume & Michel Lambotte, 1999. "Community Targeting for Poverty Reduction in Burkina Faso," Working Papers Department of Economics ces9910, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2080. 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: (Roula I. Yazigi). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.