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Social assistance in Albania : decentralization and targeted transfers, Volume 1
 
Author:Alderman, Harold; Collection Title:Living standards measurement study (LSMS) working paper ; no. LSM 134
Country:Albania; Date Stored:2003/01/24
Document Date:1998/07/31Document Type:Publication
SubTopics:Environmental Economics & Policies; Poverty Assessment; National Governance; Health Economics & Finance; Safety Nets and TransfersISBN:ISBN 0-8213-4245-2
Language:EnglishMajor Sector:(Historic)Social Protection
Region:Europe and Central AsiaReport Number:LSM134
Sub Sectors:(Historic)Social assistanceVolume No:1

Summary: Albania provides a small amount of social assistance to nearly 20 percent of its population through a system that allows a degree of community discretion in determining distribution. This study indicates that relative to other safety net programs in low income countries, social assistance in Albania is fairly well targeted to the poor. The poverty targeting exceeds that which could be expected on the basis of proxy indicators of targeting alone; communes appear to be using local information. Nevertheless, a large number of poor are excluded from social assistance. The system is hampered by the absence of a clear objective criterion to determine the size of the grants from the center to communes and limited information that might be used to implement this criterion. The paper begins with a discussion of a few concepts useful for the analysis of safety nets. Section III outlines the specific Albanian social assistance program administered by local authorities, while Section IV explains the source of the data that were used in the analysis. The results are then presented in Section V in two subsections -- the first deals with the targeting efficiency of the program in question and the second discusses how the allocation to households in Albania has changed since its main program of social assistance was decentralized. The final section discusses five policy-oriented conclusions from these results and their implications for the decentralization and cost-effectiveness.

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