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Friday, August 09, 2019

Targeting poverty (in Hodges' model) c/o The Economist

"Indian politicians are promising more cash for the poor. They should be less selective. "

[ by the quarter - make progress ...? ]

individual - self
humanistic ----------------------------------------------- mechanistic
group- population

"Targeting welfare is costly and difficult in a country like India.

If it looks for signs such as straw roofs, it will almost certainly miss many poor people, especially in the cities.

How is the state supposed to identify the poorest 50m households in a country where income and spending are so hard to track?

The political economy of targeted schemes is also tricky. In countries with minimal welfare states, schemes with few beneficiaries also have few supporters, and therefore risk being quietly wound down or diminished by inflation. And any formula used to target the bottom 20% is likely to be so opaque that people will never know whether they should have been included or not, so cannot fight for their entitlements."

"Two years ago a government report suggested a bold new approach. Instead of a universal basic income - an idea doing the rounds in rich countries - create a nearly universal scheme from which you exclude the richest quarter of the population."

Source: Leaders. Welfare in India: The beauty of breadth. The Economist, April 6, 2019, p.14.
Print edition.