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Does transparency improve public program targeting? Evidence from India's old-age social pension reforms


Asri, Viola; Michaelowa, Katharina; Panda, Sitakanta; Paul, Sourabh B (2017). Does transparency improve public program targeting? Evidence from India's old-age social pension reforms. CIS Working Paper 92, University of Zurich.

Abstract

Public program targeting is particularly challenging in developing countries. Transparency in eligibility rules for the implementation of social programs could be an effective measure to reduce mistargeting. While prior studies have examined the relevance of transparent delivery mechanisms, we focus on the transparency of eligibility criteria that can be reformed at relatively low cost. India’s social pension reforms in the late 2000s provide the opportunity to examine the effect of a change in these criteria. Using two rounds of the India Human Development Survey along with extensive administrative information, we test whether increasing the transparency of eligibility criteria reduces the mistargeting of social pensions. We thereby allow for an error band, and we carefully control for design effects due to a general increase in the number of pensions and eligible individuals. Our results confirm the relationship between transparency of eligibility criteria and targeting performance and are robust to different specifications of the transparency measure and the introduction of a tolerance band.

Abstract

Public program targeting is particularly challenging in developing countries. Transparency in eligibility rules for the implementation of social programs could be an effective measure to reduce mistargeting. While prior studies have examined the relevance of transparent delivery mechanisms, we focus on the transparency of eligibility criteria that can be reformed at relatively low cost. India’s social pension reforms in the late 2000s provide the opportunity to examine the effect of a change in these criteria. Using two rounds of the India Human Development Survey along with extensive administrative information, we test whether increasing the transparency of eligibility criteria reduces the mistargeting of social pensions. We thereby allow for an error band, and we carefully control for design effects due to a general increase in the number of pensions and eligible individuals. Our results confirm the relationship between transparency of eligibility criteria and targeting performance and are robust to different specifications of the transparency measure and the introduction of a tolerance band.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:targeting, transparency, old-age pensions, poverty, India
Language:English
Date:February 2017
Deposited On:10 Jan 2018 11:33
Last Modified:30 Jul 2018 05:07
Series Name:CIS Working Paper
Number of Pages:39
ISSN:1662-7504
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:https://www.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/gess/cis/cis-dam/CIS_DAM_2017/WP92_final.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.cis.ethz.ch/research/working-papers.html (Organisation)
https://www.recherche-portal.ch/ZAD:default_scope:ebi01_prod010863687 (Library Catalogue)

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