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Jamaica's food stamp program - impacts on poverty and welfare

  • Ezemenari, Kene
  • Subbarao, Kalanidhi
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    The authors examine how the food stamp program affected measures of poverty during devaluation of the Jamaican dollar in the early 1990s. They find that without the food stamp program, the poverty gap in Jamaica would have been much worse, especially in 1990 and 1991. For the country as a whole, not having a food stamp program wouldn't have affected the incidence of poverty significantly, but particular groups among the poor would have fared worse. Households with elderly residents benefited most from the program. Households with young children benefited more than households without, in terms of the poverty headcount and gap. The program also appears to have had more effect on extremely poor households than on those of the transient poor (people who move in and out of poverty). Explicitly incorporating behavioral responses into the model reduces the contribution of food stamps to household consumption and poverty, but the poorest benefited most from the program even after accounting for behavioral responses. The program contributed more to reducing poverty than to smoothing consumption.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2207.

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    Date of creation: 31 Oct 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2207
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    1. Grosh, Margaret E., 1992. "The Jamaican food stamps programme : A case study in targeting," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 23-40, February.
    2. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
    3. Foster, James E & Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1988. "Poverty Orderings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 173-77, January.
    4. Louat, F. & Grosh, M.E. & Van Der Gaag, J., 1993. "Welfare Implications of Female Headship in Jamaican Households," Papers 96, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
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