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Evaluating workfare when the work is unpleasant : evidence for India's national rural employment guarantee scheme

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  • Lagrange, Arthur Alik
  • Ravallion, Martin

Abstract

Prevailing practices in evaluating workfare programs have ignored the disutility of the type of work done, with theoretically ambiguous implications for the impacts on poverty. In the case of India's National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, past assessments have relied solely on household consumption per person as the measure of economic welfare. The paper generalizes this measure to allow for the disutility of casual manual work. The new measure is calibrated to the distribution of the preference parameters implied by maximization of an idiosyncratic welfare function assuming that there is no rationing of the available work. The adjustment implies a substantially more"poor-poor"incidence of participation in the scheme than suggested by past methods. However, the overall impacts on poverty are lower, although still positive. The main conclusions are robust to a wide range of alternative parameter values and to allowing for involuntary unemployment using a sample of (self-declared) un-rationed workers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6272.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6272

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Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction; Economic Theory&Research; Labor Markets; Services&Transfers to Poor;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Jha, Raghbendra & Gaiha, Raghav & Pandey, Manoj K., 2012. "Net transfer benefits under India's rural employment guarantee scheme," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 296-311.
  3. Deaton, Angus, 1989. "Rice Prices and Income Distribution in Thailand: A Non-parametric Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(395), pages 1-37, Supplemen.
  4. Martin Ravallion & Gaurav Datt, 1995. "Is Targeting Through a Work Requirement Efficient? Some Evidence for Rural India," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series, Monash University, Department of Economics archive-41, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  5. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Farm productivity and rural poverty in India," FCND discussion papers, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 42, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Jha, Raghbendra & Bhattacharyya, Sambit & Gaiha, Raghav & Shankar, Shylashri, 2009. ""Capture" of anti-poverty programs: An analysis of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Program in India," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 456-464, September.
  7. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1992. "Growth and redistribution components of changes in poverty measures : A decomposition with applications to Brazil and India in the 1980s," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 275-295, April.
  8. Michael Lokshin, 2006. "Difference-based semiparametric estimation of partial linear regression models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, StataCorp LP, vol. 6(3), pages 377-383, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Imbert, Clément, 2013. "Travailler pour être aidé? L’emploi garanti en Inde," Opuscules du CEPREMAP, CEPREMAP, CEPREMAP, number 33, May.

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