Journal Article

How Relevant Is Targeting to the Success of an Antipoverty Program?

Martin Ravallion

in The World Bank Research Observer

Published on behalf of World Bank

Volume 24, issue 2, pages 205-231
Published in print August 2009 | ISSN: 0257-3032
Published online September 2009 | e-ISSN: 1564-6971 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/wbro/lkp009
How Relevant Is Targeting to the Success of an Antipoverty Program?

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  • Welfare and Poverty
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Policy-oriented discussions often assume that “better targeting” implies larger impacts on poverty or more cost-effective interventions for fighting poverty. The literature on the economics of targeting warns against that assumption, but evidence has been scarce and the lessons from the literature have often been ignored by practitioners. This paper shows that standard measures of targeting performance are uninformative or even deceptive about the impacts on poverty, and cost-effectiveness in reducing poverty, of a large cash transfer program in China. The results suggest that in program design and evaluation, it would be better to focus directly on the program's outcomes for poor people than to rely on prevailing measures of targeting.

Keywords: I32; I38; O15

Journal Article.  10617 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Welfare and Poverty ; Economic Development

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