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Geographic inequity in a decentralized anti-poverty program : a case study of China

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  • Ravallion, Martin

Abstract

The central governments of many developing countries have chosen to decentralize their anti-poverty programs, in the expectation that local agents are better informed about local needs. The paper shows that this potential advantage of decentralized eligibility criteria can come at a large cost, to the extent that the induced geographic inequities undermine performance in reaching the income- poor nationally. These issues are studied empirically for (probably) the largest transfer-based poverty program in the world, namely China's Di Bao program,which aims to assure a minimum income through means-tested transfers. Poor municipalities are found to adopt systematically lower eligibility thresholds, reducing the program's ability to reach poor areas, and generating considerable horizontal inequity.

Suggested Citation

  • Ravallion, Martin, 2007. "Geographic inequity in a decentralized anti-poverty program : a case study of China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4303, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4303
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Across-Product Versus Within-Product Specialization in International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 647-678.
    2. Kimura, Fukunari & Takahashi, Yuya & Hayakawa, Kazunobu, 2007. "Fragmentation and parts and components trade: Comparison between East Asia and Europe," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 23-40, February.
    3. Kokko, Ari, 2002. "Export-Led Growth in East Asia: Lessons for Europe's Transition Economies," EIJS Working Paper Series 142, Stockholm School of Economics, The European Institute of Japanese Studies.
    4. Athukorala, Prema-chandra & Yamashita, Nobuaki, 2006. "Production fragmentation and trade integration: East Asia in a global context," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 233-256, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert T. Jensen & Nolan H. Miller, 2010. "Do Consumer Price Subsidies Really Improve Nutrition?," NBER Working Papers 16102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:eee:jcecon:v:45:y:2017:i:2:p:344-365 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kis-Katos, Krisztina & Sjahrir, Bambang Suharnoko, 2017. "The impact of fiscal and political decentralization on local public investment in Indonesia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, pages 344-365.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; Services&Transfers to Poor; Poverty Monitoring&Analysis; Economic Theory&Research;

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