Do community-based food security programs work?
Public transfer programs that allow beneficiaries to choose the transferred good may be more efficient, but the poorest beneficiaries may not participate if the good chosen is too costly. A model shows that program targeting and consumption impacts are tied to selected quality of the provided good. Evidence from a randomized trial in rural India in which groups of beneficiaries choose the variety of rice to be offered as a subsidized loan confirms that choosing lower cost goods self-targets the program towards the poorest beneficiaries. Consumption impacts are biggest for wealthiest households and may be negative for moderately poor households.