DP2064 | Targeting Social Assistance in a Transition Economy: the Mahallas in Uzbekistan

Publication Date


JEL Code(s)


Programme Area(s)



Falling output and living standards have pushed countries in transition from the socialist system to re-consider how best to target public resources on those in need. The paper investigates the workings of a new social assistance benefit in Uzbekistan, the largest of the former Soviet Central Asian republics, administered by community organizations, the Mahallas. Data are used from a 1995 household survey to assess the scheme's success in targeting the most vulnerable households, using a variety of indicators including income, durable goods ownership, agricultural assets, employment status, and the anthropometric status of children. The separate probabilities of knowledge of the scheme, of application for benefit, and of award are modelled.