Targeting of Social Transfers: Are India’s Elderly Poor Left Behind?

by Viola Asri
ADBI Working Paper Series No, 779, September 2017

31 pp. 613 kB
https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/364566/adbi-wp779.pdf

Whether social transfers should be targeted or universal is an unsolved debate that is particularly relevant for the implementation of social protection schemes in developing countries. While the limited availability of public resources encourages targeting, the difficulty in identifying the poor promotes a universal allocation of benefits. To address this question, the authors examine the targeting performance of, and access to, a social welfare scheme for an increasingly vulnerable group – India’s elderly poor. The results show that during a time period of social pension reforms, exclusion and inclusion errors were successfully reduced but exclusion of the elderly poor continues to be extremely high.

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