Broad-based subsidies or targeted transfers? Distributional equity vs macroeconomic costs

Andrew Feltenstein, Biplab Kumar Datta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We study the trade-off between “broad-based energy subsidy” and “subsidy reform and targeted transfer” in the developing country context. We analyze the incidence of an electricity tariff differential subsidy program in Pakistan and find that the greater share of subsidy benefit goes to relatively non-poor households. We then conduct a computable general equilibrium exercise of electricity subsidy reform and targeted transfer, and our results indicate that redistributing savings from electricity subsidy reform improves poor households’ real income. However, this comes at the cost of short-term economic slowdown, before the economy returns to the benchmark level in the long term.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Economic Policy Reform
StatePublished - 2020


  • Electricity subsidy
  • computable general equilibrium
  • government transfer
  • macroeconomic outlook
  • subsidy reform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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