Using Referenda to Improve Targeting and Decrease Costs of Conditional Cash Transfers

70 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2019 Last revised: 19 Jan 2019

See all articles by Jennifer Alix‐Garcia

Jennifer Alix‐Garcia

University of San Francisco - College of Arts & Sciences

Katharine R. Emans Sims

Amherst College

Daniel J. Phaneuf

North Carolina State University - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics

Date Written: January 17, 2019

Abstract

Cost-effective allocation of conditional cash transfers (CCT) requires identifying recipients with low opportunity costs who might change behavior. This paper develops a low-cost approach for improving program implementation by using a stated preference, referendum-style survey question to calculate willingness to accept (WTA) for CCT contracts. This is illustrated in the context of Mexico's Payments for Ecosystem Services Program, with the paper finding that the estimated social cost based on WTA is substantially lower than actual payments. Simulation of three geographic targeting approaches shows that joint selection using deforestation risk and WTA could increase program impact under the same budget. The paper also simulates modified payment schedules based on predicted WTA and demonstrates that these could reduce program cost.

Keywords: Environmental Disasters & Degradation, Global Environment, Conditional Cash Transfers, Services & Transfers to Poor, Disability, Access of Poor to Social Services, Economic Assistance, Biodiversity, Global Environment Facility

Suggested Citation

Alix-Garcia, Jennifer and Sims, Katharine R. Emans and Phaneuf, Daniel J., Using Referenda to Improve Targeting and Decrease Costs of Conditional Cash Transfers (January 17, 2019). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8708. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3317967

Jennifer Alix-Garcia (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - College of Arts & Sciences ( email )

San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.usfca.edu/artsci/fac_staff/A/alix-garcia_jennifer.html

Katharine R. Emans Sims

Amherst College ( email )

Amherst, MA 01002
United States

Daniel J. Phaneuf

North Carolina State University - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics ( email )

Box 8109
3332 Nelson Hall
Raleigh, NC 27695-8109
United States

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