Targeting Poverty

Posted: 20 Jun 2000

See all articles by Peter G. Warr

Peter G. Warr

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy


Poverty reduction has been adopted as the official objective of many multilateral and bilateral development institutions. This paper argues that this focus needs to be clarified, especially the distinction between absolute and relative poverty. It argues that reduction of absolute poverty should be one of the objectives of foreign assistance, but not the sole objective. First, measures of absolute poverty are highly limited in scope. Second, the resources of foreign aid are fungible when recipient governments reallocate their own resources in response to the aid. Third, bilateral aid should reflect all the foreign policy objectives of the donor country.

JEL Classification: O10

Suggested Citation

Warr, Peter G., Targeting Poverty. Available at SSRN:

Peter G. Warr (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
J.G. Crawford Building, #132, Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200

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