Evaluating emergency programs
Emergency programs are designed to soften the impact of economic crises-income shocks experienced by an entire community or country-on consumption and human capital accumulation. Of particular concern are poor people: as a result of inadequate savings or inadequate access to credit or insurance markets, the poor are unable to draw on resources from better times to offset a loss in income today. Further, the systemic nature of the shocks means that risk cannot be effectively pooled through local informal insurance mechanisms. Emergency interventions have included social funds, workfare programs, training programs, conditional transfers (linked to health center visits or children's school attendance, for example), and traditional direct, unconditional transfers in kind (such as communal tables or targeted food handouts). The author highlights some conceptual problems in choosing among these options and evaluating one program of a certain type relative to another. It argues that most such interventions can be thought of as containing both a transfer and an investment component and that their evaluation as emergency programs needs to more explicitly incorporate the intertemporal nature of their design. More specifically, the mandated investments in physical or human capital will benefit the poor, but only in the future-after the crisis-and their implementation diverts resources from alleviating present hardship. This needs to be reflected in the discount factor used to evaluate these investments. Maloney argues that the way emergency programs are financed, particularly the way the burden is shared between central and municipal governments, also has important implications for the criteria for evaluation. The analysis suggests that most conventional means of evaluating projects-net present value at market discount rates, labor intensity, cost per job created-may not be relevant or are at least ambiguous in the context of emergency programs. As a result, policymakers are left with few"hard"indicators with which to evaluate such programs. Maloney argues for an approach in which the policymaker weighs the appropriateness of deviations from the theoretically"ideal"benchmark program, which delivers a"smart"transfer costlessly to the target beneficiary, and discusses the arguments for or against these deviations. The modest goal of the proposed approach is to clarify the key issues and provide more solid grounding for the necessarily subjective judgment calls that policymakers will inevitably have to make.
|Date of creation:||31 Dec 2001|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433|
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Morduch, J., 1995.
"Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing,"
512, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
- Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1727, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Ravallion, Martin*Wodon, Quentin, 1999.
"Does child labor displace schooling? - evidence on behavioral responses to an enrollment subsidy,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
2116, The World Bank.
- Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 2000. "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages 158-175, March.
- Robert M. Townsend, 1995. "Consumption Insurance: An Evaluation of Risk-Bearing Systems in Low-Income Economies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 83-102, Summer.
- Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 2003.
"Estimating the Benefit Incidence of an Antipoverty Program by Propensity-Score Matching,"
Journal of Business & Economic Statistics,
American Statistical Association, vol. 21(1), pages 19-30, January.
- Jyotsna Jalan & Martin Ravallion, 2000. "Estimating the Benefit Incidence of an Antipoverty Program by Propensity Score Matching," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0873, Econometric Society.
- Wodon, Quentin & Minowa, Mari, 2001. "Training for the Urban Unemployed: A Reevaluation of Mexico's Training Program, Probecat," MPRA Paper 12310, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Appraising workfare programs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1955, The World Bank.
- Anne Case, 1995. "Symposium on Consumption Smoothing in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 81-82, Summer.
- Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Appraising Workfare," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 31-48, February.
- Ravallion,Martin, 2000. "Are the poor protected from budget cuts? theory and evidence for Argentina," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2391, The World Bank.
- Isham, Jonathan & Narayan, Deepa & Pritchett, Lant, 1995. "Does Participation Improve Performance? Establishing Causality with Subjective Data," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 9(2), pages 175-200, May.
- Cornia, G.A., 1999. "Social Funds in Stabilization and Adjustment Programmes," Research Paper 48, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
- Ravallion, Martin, 1991. "Reaching the Rural Poor through Public Employment: Arguments, Evidence, and Lessons from South Asia," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 6(2), pages 153-175, July.
- Timothy Besley, 1995. "Nonmarket Institutions for Credit and Risk Sharing in Low-Income Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 115-127, Summer.
- Gelbach, Jonath B. & Pritchett, Lant H., 1997. "More for the poor is less for the poor : the politics of targeting," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1799, The World Bank.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2728. 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)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.