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Targeting of Social Transfers: are India's Elderly Poor Left Behind

dc.contributor.authorViola Asri
dc.description.abstractWhether 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, this study examines 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. Comparing the existing targeting approach to a random allocation, I show that the benefits of targeting are limited. The reforms aimed at increasing the transparency of social pension allocation were indeed achieved, such that possession of the Below Poverty Line ration card has become the primary determinant of access to social pensions. However, this focus on the ration card has its own weaknesses. Nonpoor individuals exploit the unwarranted possession of this ration card and results indicate that after the reforms individuals with direct connections to local government officials are more likely to access social pension benefits. The current targeting approach seems to be beneficial for well-connected and well-informed individuals while many poor elderly lacking connections or information lag behind.
dc.publisherAsian Development Bank Institute
dc.titleTargeting of Social Transfers: are India's Elderly Poor Left Behind
dc.typeWorking Papers
dc.subject.expertDevelopment Indicators
dc.subject.expertEnvironmental Indicators
dc.subject.expertEconomic Indicators
dc.subject.expertEducational Indicators
dc.subject.expertDemographic Indicators
dc.subject.expertHealth Indicators
dc.subject.expertDisadvantaged Groups
dc.subject.expertLow Income Groups
dc.subject.expertSocially Disadvantaged Children
dc.subject.expertRural Conditions
dc.subject.expertRural Development
dc.subject.expertSocial Conditions
dc.subject.expertUrban Development
dc.subject.expertUrban Sociology
dc.subject.expertPension Funds
dc.subject.expertMutual Funds
dc.subject.expertSocial Equity
dc.subject.expertFinancial Aspects
dc.subject.expertFiscal Policy
dc.subject.adbAlleviating Poverty
dc.subject.adbExtreme Poverty
dc.subject.adbFight Against Poverty
dc.subject.adbGlobal Poverty
dc.subject.adbHealth Aspects Of Poverty
dc.subject.adbIndicators Of Poverty
dc.subject.adbParticipatory Poverty Assessment
dc.subject.adbPoverty Eradication
dc.subject.adbPoverty Analysis
dc.subject.adbPoverty In Developing Countries
dc.subject.adbPoverty Reduction Efforts
dc.subject.adbUrban Poverty
dc.subject.adbPublic Financial Management
dc.subject.adbFinancial System
dc.subject.adbFinancial Statistics
dc.subject.adbForeign Direct Investment
dc.subject.adbForeign and Domestic Financing
dc.subject.naturalEconomic forecasting
dc.subject.naturalHealth expectancy
dc.subject.naturalSocial groups
dc.subject.naturalPolitical participation
dc.subject.naturalDistribution of income
dc.subject.naturalInequality of income
dc.subject.naturalDeveloping countries
dc.subject.naturalRural community development
dc.subject.naturalMass society
dc.subject.naturalSocial change
dc.subject.naturalSocial policy
dc.subject.naturalSocial stability
dc.subject.naturalSustainable development
dc.subject.naturalUrban policy
dc.subject.naturalUrban renewal
dc.subject.naturalPension plans
dc.subject.naturalIndividual retirement accounts
dc.subject.naturalEmployee pension trusts
dc.subject.naturalInvestment management
dc.title.seriesADBI Working Paper Series
dc.title.volumeNo. 779
dc.contributor.imprintAsian Development Bank Institute
oar.themeLabor Migration
oar.adminregionSouth Asia Region
oar.authorAsri, Viola

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  • ADBI Working Papers
    The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) Working Paper series is a continuation of the formerly named Discussion Paper series which began in January 2003. The numbering of the papers continued without interruption or change. ADBI was established in 1997 in Tokyo, Japan, to help build capacity, skills, and knowledge related to poverty reduction and other areas that support long-term growth and competitiveness in developing economies in Asia and the Pacific.

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