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Rural Public Works and Poverty Alleviation--the case of the employment guarantee scheme in Maharashtra

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  • Raghav Gaiha
  • Katsushi Imai

Abstract

This paper focuses on the poverty alleviating potential of the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) in (the Indian state of) Maharashtra. A point of departure is the shift of emphasis from the static to the dynamic effects of the EGS targeting, measured in terms of individuals moving into and out of poverty, over the period 1979-84. An assessment is made of whether the EGS prevents the vulnerable from falling into poverty or enables the poor to move out of poverty, by distinguishing between the protective and promotional roles of the scheme. Simulations involving a wide range of poverty thresholds and different assumptions about the distribution of EGS earnings reveal that the poverty alleviating potential is limited in most cases. If, however, a larger EGS outlay is combined with more accurate targeting, the potential is substantially greater. Larger outlays are feasible if other rural public works are merged under the EGS. If this is combined with a reallocation in favour of backward areas, the targeting may improve substantially.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Review of Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 131-151

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Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:16:y:2002:i:2:p:131-151

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References

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  1. T. N. Srinivasan, 1994. "Destitution: A Discourse," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1842-1855, December.
  2. Subramanian, Shankar & Deaton, Angus, 1996. "The Demand for Food and Calories," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 133-62, February.
  3. Bob Baulch & John Hoddinott, 2000. "Economic mobility and poverty dynamics in developing countries," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 1-24.
  4. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1991. "Workfare vs. Welfare: Incentive Arguments For Work Requirements In Poverty Allevation Programs," Papers 73, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program.
  5. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "Transfer Benefits from Public-Works Employment: Evidence for Rural India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1346-69, November.
  6. Raghav Gaiha, 2000. "Do Anti-poverty Programmes Reach the Rural Poor in India?," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(1), pages 71-95.
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Cited by:
  1. Raghav Gaiha, 2000. "On the Targeting of the Employment Guarantee Scheme in the Indian State of Maharashtra," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 203-219, October.
  2. Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Evaluating anti-poverty programs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3625, The World Bank.
  3. Basu, Arnab K. & Chau, Nancy H. & Kanbur, Ravi, 2006. "A Theory of Employment Guarantees: Contestability, Credibility and Distributional Concerns," Working Papers 127048, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  4. Katsushi Imai, 2003. "The Employment Guarantee Scheme as a Social Safety Net - Poverty Dynamics and Poverty Alleviation," Economics Series Working Papers 149, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Raghbendra Jha, 2002. "Rural Poverty in India: Structure, determinants and suggestions for policy reform," ASARC Working Papers 2002-07, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
  6. Raghav Gaiha, 2004. "Is There a Case for the Employment Guarantee Scheme in India? Some Recent Evidence," ASARC Working Papers 2004-09, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
  7. R Gaiha & K Imai, 2005. "A Review of the Employment Guarantee Scheme in India," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0513, Economics, The University of Manchester.
  8. Barrientos, Armando & Nino-Zarazua, Miguel, 2010. "Social Assistance in Developing Countries Database Version 5.0," MPRA Paper 20001, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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