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Understanding Nrega-- A Simple Theory And Some Facts

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Author Info

  • Diganta Mukherjee

    (Unitedworld School of Business Kolkata)

  • Uday Bhanu Sinha

    (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi, India)

Abstract

A developing economy like India is often characterised by a labour market with demand and supply of labour and a wage that even if competitively determined may not be adequate for the poor household to reach their target income; what they consider as means of a decent living. Envisaging situations like these, the Indian government has implemented the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in recent past, to complement the income of the poor by providing them employment for certain number of labour days in a year. In this paper, using a simple theoretical model, we have analysed the impact of NREGA scheme on (i) rural labour market, (ii) income of the poor households and (iii) overall agricultural production. It is seen that the income from NREGA alone can be a substantial part of the target income of the poor. We show that in such a situation, the poor may exhibit a backward bending supply curve of labour which may lead to an aggregate reduction in agricultural output. This adverse production effect can happen even when the NREGA activities lead to a moderate improvement in agricultural productivity. Data on food prices tend to support our finding to some extent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics in its series Working papers with number 196.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cde:cdewps:196

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Keywords: NREGA; target income; labour supply; agricultural productivity; India; Asia;

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  1. Bhalotra, Sonia, 2001. "Is child work necessary?," Social Protection Discussion Papers 24660, The World Bank.
  2. Basu, Kaushik & Das, Sanghamitra & Dutta, Bhaskar, 2007. "Child Labor and Household Wealth: Theory and Empirical Evidence of an Inverted-U," IZA Discussion Papers 2736, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav & Chaudhuri, Shubham, 1993. "Does Maharashtra's Employment Guarantee Scheme Guarantee Employment? Effects of the 1988 Wage Increase," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 251-75, January.
  4. Basu, Arnab K., 2011. "Impact of Rural Employment Guarantee Schemes on Seasonal Labor Markets: Optimum Compensation and Workers' Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 5701, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Ravallion, Martin, 1991. "Reaching the Rural Poor through Public Employment: Arguments, Evidence, and Lessons from South Asia," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 6(2), pages 153-75, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Narayanamoorthy, A. & Bhattarai, Madhusudan, 2013. "Rural Employment Scheme and Agricultural Wage Rate Nexus: An Analysis across States," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 26(2013).

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