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University of Delaware (2018)

The allocation and welfare effects of emergency food aid in rural Ethiopia

Redda, Mesfin

Titre : The allocation and welfare effects of emergency food aid in rural Ethiopia

Auteur : Redda, Mesfin

Université de soutenance : University of Delaware

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (2018)

This dissertation consists of two separate essays. The first essay examines if the allocation of emergency food aid during the 2002/3 Ethiopian drought adheres to household rankings based on their history of consumption poverty as well as their experiences with shocks and food insecurity. We found that the allocation of free food aid benefits favored consumption-poor households with older heads. In contrast, the public works program did not favor consumption-poor households because of its work requirement. We also found the allocation of benefits in both programs to be marred by inclusion and exclusion errors. Non-deserving households that received free food aid were more likely to be headed by elderly women while those who wrongly received public works benefits were more likely to be younger and had better connections. Aid deserving households with older and/or sickly heads enjoyed lower chance of being excluded from either program. ☐ The second essay examines the effect of emergency food aid interventions during the 2002/3 Ethiopian drought on household wellbeing. We use the exogenous variation that the selection criteria provide to estimate the effect of program participation using fuzzy regression discontinuity. Results from the first stage of the RD design show that households that the criteria-based ranking deemed eligible to receive benefits had significantly higher chance of actually receiving them than those it almost deemed eligible. Despite the allocation of benefits being progressive, results from the second stage of the RD estimation indicate that neither program was effective at preventing beneficiaries from depleting assets or growing their livestock units. However, participation in the free food aid program had a positive and significant effect on real per capita food consumption. But, this estimate loses significance when households who also received public works benefits are excluded from the analysis, suggesting that the effect on consumption may be short lived. In contrast, participation in public works employment had a significant but negative effect on the rate of growth of non-food consumption. While participation in either program had no effect on household assessments of program fairness post-intervention, recipients of either benefit were more likely to view the government or its officials favorably than their non-recipient counterparts. We explain this in terms of the relief and optimism associated with securing help during a crisis situation.


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