Net transfer benefits under India's rural employment guarantee scheme
This paper explores the important but relatively neglected issue of real income transfers, net of the opportunity cost of time, under India's National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. We use representative household level primary data for three states, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra to depict various individual and social characteristics of the population in these states as well as those of the participants in the NREGS. We also model the stochastic dominance comparisons of per capita monthly expenditures of participants with and without alternative employment opportunities in the absence of NREG as well as the determinants of such opportunities. As an approximate measure of the net transfer benefits under NREGS, we consider shares of NREG earnings net of the opportunity cost of time in household income. The distribution of such net transfers across household characteristics as well as the distribution of benefits across villages in the three states is also discussed. In general, net transfers under the NREGS are quite modest. Why accurate measurement of such transfers matters in an anti-poverty strategy is elaborated.
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