Exclusion by Design: an assessment of the effectiveness of the proxy means test poverty targeting mechanism (ESS Working Paper No. 56)

Organization(s): Development Pathways, ILO
Author: Bjorn Gelders, Dilo√° Bailey-Athias, Stephen Kidd
Year: 2017
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This paper assesses the effectiveness of the proxy means test (PMT) targeting methodology. It brings together international evidence to show that it is both inaccurate and arbitrary. The mechanism suffers from high in-built design errors, additional errors introduced during implementation, and infrequent surveys, meaning that it cannot respond to the dynamic nature of household incomes. It also generates conflict and divisions within communities, ultimately weakening their cohesion. The paper argues that the PMT is embedded within a neoliberal paradigm that favours low taxation and limited social spending and concludes by noting that only by increasing investment in inclusive life cycle national social protection systems can all of those living in poverty effectively access social security.

Related Principles

Universality of Protection

States parties to major human rights instruments related to economic, social and cultural rights such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) have an immediate minimum core obligation to ensure the satisfaction of, at the very least, minimum essential levels of all economic, social and cultural rights such as the right […]

Social Protection and Human Rights