The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Erwin Tiongson, Hamid Davoodi, and Sawitree Asawanuchit
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
This paper provides a primer on benefit incidence analysis (BIA) for macroeconomists and a new data set on the benefit incidence of education and health spending covering 56 countries over 1960-2000, representing a significant improvement in quality and coverage over existing compilations. The paper demonstrates the usefulness of BIA in two dimensions. First, the paper finds, among other things, that overall education and health spending are poorly targeted; benefits from primary education and primary health care go disproportionately to the middle class, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, HIPCs and transition economies; but targeting has improved in the 1990s. Second, simple measures of association show that countries with a more propoor incidence of education and health spending tend to have better education and health outcomes, good governance, high per capita income, and wider accessibility to information. The paper explores policy implications of these findings.