NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

A Poor Means Test? Econometric Targeting in Africa

Caitlin Brown, Martin Ravallion, Dominique van de Walle

NBER Working Paper No. 22919
Issued in December 2016
NBER Program(s):Development Economics

Proxy-means testing is a popular method of poverty targeting with imperfect information. In a now widely-used version, a regression for log consumption calibrates a proxy-means test score based on chosen covariates, which is then implemented for targeting out-of-sample. In this paper, the performance of various proxy-means testing methods is assessed using data for nine African countries. Standard proxy-means testing helps filter out the nonpoor, but excludes many poor people, thus diminishing the impact on poverty. Some methodological changes perform better, with a poverty-quantile method dominating in most cases. Even so, either a basic-income scheme or transfers using a simple demographic scorecard are found to do as well, or almost as well, in reducing poverty. However, even with a budget sufficient to eliminate poverty with full information, none of these targeting methods brings the poverty rate below about three-quarters of its initial value. The prevailing methods are particularly deficient in reaching the poorest.

download in pdf format
   (1601 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22919

Published: Caitlin Brown & Martin Ravallion & Dominique van de Walle, 2018. "A poor means test? Econometric targeting in Africa," Journal of Development Economics, .

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
López-Salido, Stein, and Zakrajšek w21879 Credit-Market Sentiment and the Business Cycle
Meng w22536 Estimating Path Dependence in Energy Transitions
Fryer w22130 The Production of Human Capital in Developed Countries: Evidence from 196 Randomized Field Experiments
Garcia-Macia, Hsieh, and Klenow w22953 How Destructive is Innovation?
Piketty, Saez, and Zucman w22945 Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us