IDS Bulletin Vol. 30 Nos. 2

Targeting Transfers: Innovative Solutions to Familiar Problems

Published on 1 April 1999

Summaries The case for targeting cash or in?kind transfers to the poor – that it maximises cost?effectiveness and equitable allocation of scarce public resources – is partially offset by the administrative, social and political costs that targeting introduces. This article examines practical applications of three alternative targeting mechanisms: self?targeting, individual assessment, and group characteristics. It finds that current international ‘conventional wisdom’ – which favours, for example, introducing gender quotas to public works projects and minimising administration costs to maximise transfers to beneficiaries – often leads to perverse outcomes, which have motivated innovative modifications in specific local contexts.

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Devereux, S. (1999) Targeting Transfers: Innovative Solutions to Familiar Problems. IDS Bulletin 30(2): 61-74

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published by
Institute of Development Studies
Devereux, Stephen


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