This article argues that the extreme poor warrant specific analytical and policy focus. It attempts to identify the extreme poor in rural Bangladesh by devising sensitive targeting indicators that are effective in minimising leakage to the non-poor while ensuring broad coverage of the target group. A number of indicators are examined, resulting in the conclusion that since no single indicator contains sufficient information, it is better to combine those which are most effective. Regional targeting and household-based indicators are also recommended for the design of extreme-poor oriented programmes. However, if the process of administering is left to the bureaucratic discretion of programme managers, it is unlikely that better identification will have an effect on the extreme poor. This risk can be minimised through consultation with communities and NGOs, and facilitated by effective local government. Information exchange with likeminded programmes can also contribute to the development of more socially equitable and inclusive pro-poor policies.
Methodology for IdentifyingThe Poorest at Local Level, PRCPB Working Paper No. 1, Programme for Research on Chronic Poverty in Bangladesh (PRCPB)/ Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, 37 pp.