Targeting assistance to the poor is a central problem in development.
We study the problem of designing a proxy means test when
the implementing agent is corruptible. Conditioning on more poverty
indicators may worsen targeting in this environment because of
a novel tradeoff between statistical accuracy and enforceability. We
then test necessary conditions for this tradeoff using data on Below
Poverty Line card allocation in India. Less eligible households pay
larger bribes and are less likely to obtain cards, but widespread rule
violations yield a de facto allocation much less progressive than the
de jure one. Enforceability appears to matter. (JEL D12, I32, I38,
Niehaus, Paul, Antonia Atanassova, Marianne Bertrand, and Sendhil Mullainathan.
"Targeting with Agents."
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
Welfare and Poverty: Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration