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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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    4. 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 251-275, January.
    5. Haddad, Lawrence James & Adato, Michelle, 2001. "How effectively do public works programs transfer benefits to the poor?," FCND discussion papers 108, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Clément Imbert & John Papp, 2015. "Labor Market Effects of Social Programs: Evidence from India's Employment Guarantee," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 233-63, April.
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