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Decentralized beneficiary targeting in large-scale development programs : insights from the Malawi farm input subsidy program
 
Author:Kilic, Talip; Whitney, Edward; Winters, Paul; Collection Title:Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 6713
Country:Malawi; Date Stored:2013/11/26
Document Date:2013/11/01Document Type:Policy Research Working Paper
SubTopics:Poverty Monitoring & Analysis; Regional Economic Development; Rural Poverty Reduction; Economic Theory & Research; Services & Transfers to PoorLanguage:English
Major Sector:Education; Agriculture, fishing, and forestry; Health and other social services; TransportationRel. Proj ID:3A-Lsms Integrated Surveys On Agriculture -- -- P114487;
Region:AfricaReport Number:WPS6713
Sub Sectors:Health; General agriculture, fishing and forestry sector; General education sector; General transportation sectorTF No/Name:TF098893-KCP II - Measuring Development Indicators for Pastoralists Populations; TF098007-Improved Measurement of Welfare in Niger; TF014269-Improving the Quality and Policy Relevance of Household-level Data on-1; TF013481-Financial Capability Project; TF093624-Improving the quality and policy relevance of household-level data on a
Volume No:1 of 1  

Summary: This paper contributes to the long-standing debate on the merits of decentralized beneficiary targeting in the administration of development programs, focusing on the large-scale Malawi Farm Input Subsidy Program. Nationally-representative household survey data are used to systematically analyze the decentralized targeting performance of the program during the 2009-2010 agricultural season. The analysis begins with a standard targeting assessment based on the rates of program participation and the benefit amounts among the eligible and non-eligible populations, and provides decompositions of the national targeting performance into the inter-district, intra-district inter-community, and intra-district intra-community components. This approach identifies the relative contributions of targeting at each level. The results show that the Farm Input Subsidy Program is not poverty targeted and that the national government, districts, and communities are nearly uniform in their failure to target the poor, with any minimal targeting (or mis-targeting) overwhelmingly materializing at the community level. The findings are robust to the choice of the eligibility indicator and the decomposition method. The multivariate analysis of household program participation reinforces these results and reveals that the relatively well-off, rather than the poor or the wealthiest, and the locally well-connected have a higher likelihood of program participation and, on average, receive a greater number of input coupons. Since a key program objective is to increase food security and income among resource-poor farmers, the lack of targeting is a concern and should underlie considerations of alternative targeting approaches that, in part or completely, rely on proxy means tests at the local level.

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