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Optimal Management of Transfers: an Odd Paradox

François Bourguignon and Jean-Philippe Platteau

No 12234, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: In this paper we consider transfers towards needy people but, unlike Atkinson, we assume that there exists a serious preference misalignment between the transfer maker and the beneficiary. The former wants to reduce the resulting discrepancy through monitoring the use of the transfer and imposing sanctions if the discrepancy proves too large. This external discipline combines with the internal discipline of the beneficiary, that is his/her willingness and ability to align with the transfer maker's objective. Besides the fact that costs of monitoring and sanctioning are explicitly taken into account, an original feature of our model is that the two types of discipline are made comparable: they can be summed up to obtain an aggregate discipline. We show that, paradoxically, an (exogenous) improvement of internal discipline may be over-compensated by a fall of external discipline. As a result, total discipline actually decreases and the discrepancy between the actual and the intended uses of the transfer increases instead of decreasing. This paradoxical outcome is obtained despite better preference alignment as cost savings are optimally implemented. Another consequence is that the relationship between internal and total disciplines may be non-monotonous.

JEL-codes: D02 D86 F35 O12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mic
Date: 2017-08
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