INTRODUCTION

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The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has achieved remarkable progress

in rural poverty reduction since the beginning of the reform period in the

late 1970s. Measured by the offi cial poverty line, the poor rural population

was reduced from 250 million in 1978 to 80 million in 1993 and further to

28 million in 2002, or from 31 per cent of the rural population to only 3 per

cent. This has been made possible by a combination of fast general economic

growth and targeted poverty reduction programs. However, the evidence

we survey below suggests that, whilst the latter may have played some role,

their impact is likely to have been weak at best. Location targeting has been

the main instrument of targeting used in PRC and there is surprisingly little

evidence on who, within particular targeted areas, received the benefi ts from

such programs. This chapter summarizes the targeting measures used in antipoverty

programs in PRC, with the focus on rural poverty, and considers

the evidence on the effectiveness of the various poverty interventions.