Food vouchers and dietary diversity: evidence from social protection reform in Indonesia

Anu Rammohan, Achmad Tohari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In-kind food transfers are widely used in many developing countries to address food insecurity, yet undernutrition remains a key problem. In this paper, we combine nationally representative administrative and household survey data from Indonesia, to evaluate whether the replacement of means-tested in-kind food transfers (Rastra program which delivered staple cereal rice) by a food voucher system (BPNT program) changed the consumption behaviour of the poor. Our analyses show that the BPNT program increased dietary diversity among poor households, by at least 15 percentage points relative to those households that still received in-kind food transfers. Further, the new initiative has also improved the consumption of essential nutrients by poor households and the targeting performance of social welfare programs. Our results highlight the importance of social protection reform and show that changing such in-kind programs to vouchers provide poor households with greater flexibility to choose the foods of their choice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-184
Number of pages24
JournalFood Security
Volume16
Issue number1
Early online date28 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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