In the past 15 years, the Government of Indonesia has implemented a variety of social assistance pro- grammes intended to improve the lives of the poor and help them escape poverty. Many of these pro- grammes are now operating at a national scale and cover millions of Indonesians.
Using a new household survey dataset that covers the eastern areas of Indonesia (Indonesian Family Life Survey East 2012), this paper investigates the household-level determinants of access to social assistance programmes. The analysis reveals that social assistance programmes are relatively more available in poorer provinces and that poorer households—all things being equal—are more likely to access social assistance programmes than nonpoor households, which suggests that social assistance programmes in eastern Indonesia are successful in their efforts to target the poor (poverty targeting), both across regions and households. However, poverty targeting still has scope for improvement in terms of accuracy.
Besides the poverty status (as measured in per capita consumption expenditures), the authors found that several other factors inﬂ uence programme access. Having a disabled household member or having a household head who is a widow(er) appears to increase the likelihood of receiving social assistance programmes. Likewise, the level of trust and conﬂ ict in a community affects access to social assis- tance programmes. Particularly in the case of Raskin, we found that the programme is distributed more widely among those communities that are characterized by higher levels of conﬂ ict and lower levels of trust. The authors did not ﬁ nd that poor access to infrastructure and remoteness inﬂ uences household access to social assistance programmes once they controlled for province ﬁ xed effects in the regres- sion framework. Furthermore, the ﬁ ndings suggest that possession of a local ‘poverty letter’ strongly improves household access to social assistance programmes, even after controlling for a wide set of socioeconomic characteristics. In general, determinants of programme access differ signiﬁ cantly among provinces and between rural and urban areas.