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Title: Cross-sector insights into the challenges of targeting and crowding-out in agricultural and health voucher subsidy schemes : an economic analysis
Author: Harman, Luke
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 7379
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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In recent years there has been a renewal of interest in subsidising agricultural inputs and public health products to achieve various social, economic and public health objectives. Despite numerous justifications, implementers face a range of practical challenges that can significantly undermine the achievement of policy or programme goals. At the centre of these challenges lie the issues of targeting and how to maximise incremental increases in ownership and use of the products being subsidised, over the short and longer-term. This thesis adopts a cross-sector approach to the identification of its research questions and methodological approaches, drawing on both the agricultural and health literatures, exploring the potential for cross-sector learning. The empirical research is based around Malawi's Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) and the Tanzania National Voucher Scheme (TNVS) for mosquito nets. Concentration curves and concentration indices, as used in the health literature, are adapted to estimate the socioeconomic-related inequality at key stages in the transmission of fertiliser subsidies to farmers in the FISP, complemented by a qualitative investigation of the key determinants of outcomes at these stages using semi-structured interviews. The impact of the TNVS on demand for unsubsidised mosquito net purchases is then explored using non-linear multivariate regression to estimate a household demand model, as applied in the agricultural input subsidy literature. Overall, the results highlight the numerous challenges associated with targeting agricultural and health subsidy programmes and subsequent implications. In particular, the analysis on the FISP urges caution in the use of community-based targeting in certain contexts, while that on the TNVS encourages greater investigation of what more can be done to ensure that subsidies lead to higher incremental increases in ownership and use of the products being subsidised. As a whole, the thesis demonstrates the utility of a crosssector approach to research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral