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A common criticism of antipoverty programs is that the high share of administrative (nontransfer) costs substantially reduces their effectiveness. Yet, there is surprisingly little rigorous empirical evidence on program costs. Improved information and a better understanding of the costs of such programs are crucial for effective policymaking. This study proposes and implements a replicable methodology for a comparative cost analysis of three similar poverty alleviation programs in Latin America, and assesses their cost efficiency. The findings underscore that any credible assessment of cost-efficiency requires a detailed analysis of program cost structures that goes well beyond simply providing aggregate cost information.

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