The Potential and Limitations of Self-Targeted Food Subsidies
Harold Alderman () and
World Bank Research Observer, 1998, vol. 13, issue 2, 213-29
Can self-selection of subsidized commodities be used as a mechanism to transfer income to the poor? Evidence from two self-targeting programs, one in South Africa and one in Tunisia, shows that although self-targeting can clearly improve the distribution of food subsidies to the poorest members of society, its power to alleviate poverty and reduce income disparities is limited by preference patterns, income inequality, and the size of the individual subsidies. Self-targeting through quality and product differentiation can be a useful means to reform existing universal subsidy schemes, but it should be considered a transitional tool while the capacity for implementing more precise mechanisms is developed. Copyright 1998 by Oxford University Press.
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