Publication: A Poor Means Test?: Econometric Targeting in Africa
van de Walle, Dominique
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.
Link to Data Set
“Brown, Caitlin; Ravallion, Martin; van de Walle, Dominique. 2016. A Poor Means Test?: Econometric Targeting in Africa. Policy Research Working Paper;No. 7915. © World Bank, Washington, DC. http://hdl.handle.net/10986/25814 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”
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