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This paper addresses the contested issue of the efficacy of targeting interventionsin developing countries using a newly constructed comprehensive database of 111targeted antipoverty interventions in 47 countries. While the median program transfers 25percent more to the target group than would be the case with a universal allocation, morethan a quarter of targeted programs are regressive. Countries with higher income orgovernance measures, and countries with better measures for voice do better at directingbenefits toward poorer members of the population. Interventions that use means testing,geographic targeting, and self-selection based on a work requirement are all associatedwith an increased share of benefits going to the bottom two quintiles. Self-selection basedon consumption, demographic targeting to the elderly, and community bidding showlimited potential for good targeting. Proxy means testing, community-based selection ofindividuals, and demographic targeting to children show good results on average, butwith considerable variation. Overall, there is considerable variation in targetingperformance when we examine experiences with specific program types and specifictargeting methods. Indeed a Theil decomposition of the variation in outcome shows thatdifferences between targeting methods account for only 20 percent of overall variation.The remainder is due to differences found within categories. Thus, while these generalpatterns are instructive, differences in implementation are also quite importantdeterminants of outcomes.

Subject(s): Food Security and Poverty

Issue Date: 2003

Publication Type: Working or Discussion Paper

PURL Identifier:

Total Pages: 44

Series Statement: FCND Discussion Paper


Record appears in: CGIAR > International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) > FCND Discussion Papers

Autor: Coady, David P. ; Grosh, Margaret ; Hoddinott, John


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