Targeting for Social Safety Nets: Evidence from Nine Programs in the Sahel

64 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2022


This paper ana­lyzes household data from nine programs implemented in the Sahel region using a harmonized approach to compare Proxy-Means Testing (PMT) and Community-Based Tar­geting (CBT) selection as conducted in practice, once geographical targeting has been applied. The results show that the targeting performance measured depends critically on the definition of the targeting objectives, share of ben­eficiaries selected, and indexes used to evaluate targeting. While PMT performs better in reaching the poorest house­holds based on per capita consumption, it differs little from CBT, random or universal selection when distribution-sensitive measures are employed, or when food security is used as a welfare metric. Targeting costs represent only a small share of budgets. Our results emphasize the need to study programs as implemented in practice instead of relying on simulations of targeting performance, and that PMT and CBT contribute little to poverty or food inse­curity reduction efforts in poor and homogeneous settings.

Keywords: targeting, proxy means testing, community-based targeting, Social protection, Poverty, Africa

Suggested Citation

Schnitzer, Pascale and Stoeffler, Quentin, Targeting for Social Safety Nets: Evidence from Nine Programs in the Sahel. Available at SSRN: or

Pascale Schnitzer

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Quentin Stoeffler (Contact Author)

Istanbul Technical University ( email )



Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics