Efficiency, Legitimacy, and Impacts of Targeting Methods: Evidence from an Experiment in Niger
No AccessPoverty ReductionNov 2021
The methods to select safety net beneficiaries are the subject of frequent debates. Targeting assessments usually focus on efficiency by documenting the pre-program profile of selected beneficiaries. This study provides a more comprehensive analysis of targeting performance through an experiment embedded in a national cash transfer program in Niger. Eligible villages were randomly assigned to have beneficiary households selected by community-based targeting (CBT), proxy-means testing (PMT), or a formula to identify the food-insecure (FCS). The study considers targeting legitimacy and the impact of targeting choice on program effectiveness based on data collected after program roll-out. PMT is more efficient in identifying households with lower consumption per capita. Nonbeneficiaries find formula-based methods (PMT and FCS) more legitimate than CBT. Manipulation and information imperfections affect CBT, which can explain why it is not the most legitimate. Program impacts on some welfare dimensions are larger among households selected by PMT than CBT.
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