Targeting the Poor: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia

Date: 

Monday, February 27, 2012, 4:10pm to 5:30pm

Location: 

79 John F. Kennedy St., Taubman Building, 5th Floor, Room Nye A

Rema HannaRema Hanna, Harvard Kennedy School
Moderator: Elizabeth Osborn, Program Director of Harvard Kennedy School Indonesia Program

About the Seminar
Rema Hanna will discuss her recent research Targeting the Poor: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia, co-authored with Vivi Alatas, Abhijit Banerjee, Julia Tobias, and Ben Olken. This research systematically tests the effectiveness of targeting strategy for anti-poverty cash transfer program in Indonesia, namely, proxy-means test, using data on assets to predicts income; community targeting, using villagers own rank; and hybrid method. In particular, it examines the ability of each approach in identifying the poor and providing of satisfaction with transfer recipient list. Not only evaluating if the elite capture reduces community informational advantage, the research also observes if community has widely shared objective function beyond per-capita income. Understanding cost and benefit of targeting strategy is of practical importance for public policy makers, poverty-alleviation specialist, and for anyone interested in anti-poverty measures, especially in developing countries with, typically, substantial informal sector and lack of reliable earning records.

About the Speaker
Rema Hanna is an associate professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Hanna is a NBER research associate, an affiliate of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), and an affiliate at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. Her research focuses on understanding how to improve the provision of public services in developing countries. She is currently working on a project to assess the effectiveness of different methods for targeting the poor in Indonesia, and also analyzing data from a field experiment in rural Orissa, India, that looks at the impacts of “clean” cooking stoves on indoor air pollution and health. Prior to joining the Kennedy School, Hanna was an assistant professor of public policy and economics at New York University. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from MIT and a B.S. from Cornell University.