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Publication Detail
ADB 2010-05: How Can Food Subsidies Work Better? Answers from India and the Philippines

The study explores the outcomes of food subsidies to the poor in the case of India and the Philippines. Both countries operate in-kind food subsidy programs with similar mandates, commonalities in functioning, and substantial budgetary outlays. The goal of the study is to quantify the gains to the poor from an additional unit of public spending on food subsidies. We find the expected income impacts on the poor are not more than 5% of incremental spending in either country. Part of the reason for such a low impact is poor participation in the program. But equally, it is also the case that the share of the poor in the total food subsidy is small. The reason why the poor receive such small shares is not just poor targeting. The main factor is program waste (due to fraud and excess costs). Such waste accounts for as much as 71% of the total public spending.

Asian Development Bank
Authors Keywords
Jha, Shikha; Subramanian, Arvind; Ramaswami, Bharat; food subsidy; social development; Philippines; agriculture; social protection;
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Published in 2010 and available in the ADB Library or can be downloaded as full text Downloaded 636 times since November 25, 2011