Hidden Impact? Ex-Post Evaluation of an Anti-Poverty Program

34 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2003

See all articles by Shaohua Chen

Shaohua Chen

World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Martin Ravallion

Georgetown University

Date Written: May 2003


By the widely used difference-in-difference method, the Southwest China Poverty Reduction Project had little impact on the proportion of people in beneficiary villages consuming less than $1 a day - despite a public outlay of $400 million. Is that right, or is the true impact being hidden somehow? Chen and Ravallion find that impact estimates are quite sensitive to the choice of outcome indicator, the poverty line, and the matching method. There are larger poverty impacts at lower poverty lines. And there are much larger impacts on incomes than consumptions. Uncertainty about the impact probably made it hard for participants to infer the gain in permanent income, so they saved a high proportion of the short-term gain.

This paper - a product of the Poverty Team, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to assess the impact on poverty of World Bank lending. The study was funded by the Bank's Research Support Budget under the research project Looking Beyond Averages: A Research Program on Poverty and Inequality (RPO 681-39).

Keywords: Poverty, poor-area development projects, evaluation, savings, China

JEL Classification: D91, H43, I32, O22

Suggested Citation

Chen, Shaohua and Ravallion, Martin, Hidden Impact? Ex-Post Evaluation of an Anti-Poverty Program (May 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=417160 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.417160

Shaohua Chen (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Martin Ravallion

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

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