Icon Our WorkHit and Miss: An assessment of targeting effectiveness in social protection – Summary version with updated analysis

One of the most highly charged debates in social protection is how best to undertake targeting: while some social protection practitioners are passionate advocates of income testing (or poverty targeting), others highlight the many advantages of universal selection. However, as with any debate, it is best to first look at the evidence.

The Hit and Miss paper released last year by Act Church of Sweden and Development Pathways did just that and, through an analysis of national household survey datasets, examined the targeting errors of a wide range of social protection schemes. It demonstrated that the highest targeting errors were found in poverty-targeted programmes and that, if the policy aim was to reach the poorest members of society, the most effective means of doing so would be through universal selection.

We are now releasing a short summary version of the Hit and Miss paper, to make the findings more accessible. The paper also includes analysis of 4 more schemes meaning that we have now examined 42 schemes across 25 low- and middle-income countries. In addition, we have updated the original paper with the new results.

We hope that the evidence presented here will be taken seriously by social protection practitioners and policy-makers.

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