Evaluating the Targeting Effectiveness of Social Transfers: A Literature Review

Devereux, S., Masset, E., Sabates-Wheeler, R., Samson, M., te Lintelo, D. and Rivas, A. M.
IDS Working Paper 460
Publisher IDS
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Many methodologies exist for dividing a population into those who are classified as eligible for social transfers and those who are ineligible. Popular targeting mechanisms include means testing, proxy means tests, categorical, geographic, community-based, and self-selection.

This paper reviews empirical evidence from a range of social protection programmes on the accuracy of these mechanisms, in terms of minimising four targeting errors: inclusion and exclusion, by eligibility and by poverty. This paper also reviews available evidence on the various costs associated with targeting, not only administrative but also private, social, psycho-social, incentive-based and political costs. Comparisons are difficult, but all mechanisms generate targeting errors and costs. Given the inevitability of trade-offs, there is no ‘best’ mechanism for targeting social transfers. The key determinant of relative accuracy and cost-effectiveness in each case is how well the targeting mechanism is designed and implemented.

This is the front cover to IDS Working Paper 460, 'Evaluating the Targeting Effectiveness of Social Transfers: A Literature Review'.
Published Date
20-Jul-15
ISBN:
978 1 78118 250 5
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Related IDS Researchers
Stephen Devereux
Rachel Sabates-Wheeler
Edoardo Masset
Dolf te Lintelo

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