Selecting a Targeting Method to Identify BPL Households in India

OPHI Working Paper No. 53

29 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2013

See all articles by Sabina Alkire

Sabina Alkire

Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative

Suman Seth

University of Leeds - Economics Division; University of Oxford - Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative

Date Written: August 1, 2012

Abstract

This paper proposes how to select a methodology to target multidimensionally poor households, and how to update that targeting exercise periodically. We present this methodology in the context of discussions regarding the selection of a targeting methodology in India. In 1992, 1997, and 2002 the Indian government identified households that are Below the Poverty Line (BPL) and in updating the 2002 methodology, alternative methods have been proposed and vigorously debated. A fourth BPL method was published and a corresponding Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), implemented. Using the third National Family Health Survey (NFHS3), this paper illustrates how a BPL targeting method using SECC variables might be calibrated to a multidimensional poverty measure. This paper compares the fit between a benchmark measure of multidimensional poverty and several plausible targeting methods to determine which method(s) approximate it – as well as related measures – most closely. We find a ten-item binary scoring method, which uses variables already available in the SECC questionnaire, provides a strong proxy. The emphasis of this paper is to illustrate how a particular targeting method can be justified, rather than to advocate any particular solution.

Keywords: India, BPL, SECC, NFHS3, multidimensional poverty index, MPI, ten-item binary scoring method

JEL Classification: I3, I32

Suggested Citation

Alkire, Sabina and Seth, Suman, Selecting a Targeting Method to Identify BPL Households in India (August 1, 2012). OPHI Working Paper No. 53. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2292942 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2292942

Sabina Alkire (Contact Author)

Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative ( email )

Queen Elizabeth House
3 Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3TB
United Kingdom

Suman Seth

University of Leeds - Economics Division ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom
+44(0)1133432629 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://business.leeds.ac.uk/about-us/our-people/staff-directory/profile/suman-seth/

University of Oxford - Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative

3 Mansfield Road
Queen Elizabeth House
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3TB
United Kingdom
+44 1865 618643 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://ophi.org.uk/about/people/research-associates-and-advisors/suman-seth/

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