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Workfare as an Effective Way to Fight Poverty: The Case of India’s NREGS

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  • Ravi, Shamika
  • Engler, Monika

Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) on poor rural households. In particular, we study the impact of the program on food security, savings, and health outcomes. We have a panel data of 1,064 households from 198 villages of Andhra Pradesh, over two years. In the early stage of the program, several households that applied for work were denied employment due to shortage of work. We exploit this exogenous variation to calculate triple-difference estimates of the impact of the program. Our results indicate that the NREGS significantly increased the monthly per capita expenditure on food and non-food consumables. The program also improved food security by a significant reduction in the number of meals foregone by households per week. The program raised the probability of holding savings and reduced the incidence of depression among rural households.

Suggested Citation

  • Ravi, Shamika & Engler, Monika, 2015. "Workfare as an Effective Way to Fight Poverty: The Case of India’s NREGS," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 57-71.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:67:y:2015:i:c:p:57-71
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.09.029
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:eee:jeborg:v:149:y:2018:i:c:p:372-388 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:wdevel:v:96:y:2017:i:c:p:245-263 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Akerkar, Supriya & Joshi, P.C. & Fordham, Maureen, 2016. "Cultures of Entitlement and Social Protection: Evidence from Flood Prone Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 46-58.
    4. Sudha Narayanan & Nicolas Gerber, 2015. "Social safety nets for food and nutritional security in India," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2015-031, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    5. Beegle, Kathleen & Galasso, Emanuela & Goldberg, Jessica, 2017. "Direct and indirect effects of Malawi's public works program on food security," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 1-23.
    6. Deininger,Klaus W. & Nagarajan,Hari Krishnan & Singh,Sudhir K. & Deininger,Klaus W. & Nagarajan,Hari Krishnan & Singh,Sudhir K., 2016. "Short-term effects of India's employment guarantee program on labor markets and agricultural productivity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7665, The World Bank.
    7. Gupta, Bhanu & Mukhopadhyay, Abhiroop, 2016. "Local funds and political competition: Evidence from the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in India," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 14-30.
    8. Sofia Amaral & Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Rudra Sensarma, 2015. "Public Work Programs and Gender-based Violence: The Case of NREGA in India," Discussion Papers 15-09, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    9. Karthik Muralidharan & Paul Niehaus & Sandip Sukhtankar, 2016. "Building State Capacity: Evidence from Biometric Smartcards in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 2895-2929, October.
    10. repec:pal:eurjdr:v:30:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1057_s41287-017-0122-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Deepak Varshney & Deepti Goel & J.V. Meenakshi, 2017. "The Impact of MGNREGA on Agricultural Outcomes and the Rural Labour Market: A Matched DID Approach," Working Papers id:12202, eSocialSciences.
    12. Deepak Varshney, Deepti Goel and J.V. Meenakshi, 2017. "The Impact of MGNREGA on Agricultural Outcomes and the Rural Labour Market- A Matched DID Approach," Working papers 277, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    13. Merfeld, Joshua D, 2017. "Spatially Heterogeneous Effects of a Public Works Program," MPRA Paper 80630, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. repec:eee:wdevel:v:111:y:2018:i:c:p:211-224 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:eee:wdevel:v:106:y:2018:i:c:p:15-26 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Johny, Judit & Wichmann, Bruno & Swallow, Brent M., 2017. "Characterizing social networks and their effects on income diversification in rural Kerala, India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 375-392.
    17. Gill,Indermit S. & Revenga,Ana L. & Zeballos,Christian, 2016. "Grow, invest, insure : a game plan to end extreme poverty by 2030," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7892, The World Bank.
    18. repec:eee:wdevel:v:100:y:2017:i:c:p:31-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. repec:eee:wdevel:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:555-572 is not listed on IDEAS

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