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Fighting Maoist Violence with Promises: Evidence from India's Employment Guarantee Scheme


  • Gaurav Khanna

    (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.)

  • Laura Zimmermann

    (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.)


The Indian state faces a substantial internal security threat in the form of a Maoist insurgency, but decades of relying predominantly on military strength have not been a successful strategy for resolving the conflict. Recently, there has been a growing interest in whether anti-poverty programs can increase the effectiveness of the government forces by improving the relationship between citizens and the state and making civilians more willing to share information on insurgents. A prime candidate for such a program is the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), the world's largest public-works program. We find that the introduction of NREGS leads to an increase in violence in the short run that is driven by police-initiated attacks, and an increase in the number of captured Maoists. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that civilians assist the police because of NREGS, and suggest that the role of civilians in internal conflicts should not be ignored.

Suggested Citation

  • Gaurav Khanna & Laura Zimmermann, 2014. "Fighting Maoist Violence with Promises: Evidence from India's Employment Guarantee Scheme," Economics of Peace and Security Journal, EPS Publishing, vol. 9(1), pages 30-36, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:epc:journl:v:9:y:2014:i:1:p:30-36

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    Cited by:

    1. Edgar H. Sanchez-Cuevas, 2018. "Fighting Fire with Aid: Development Assistance as Counterinsurency Tool. Evidence for Colombia," Documentos CEDE 16378, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    2. Khanna, Gaurav & Zimmermann, Laura, 2017. "Guns and butter? Fighting violence with the promise of development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 120-141.
    3. Bhattacharya, Prasad Sankar & Chowdhury, Prabal Roy & Rahman, Habibur, 2023. "Does credit availability mitigate domestic conflict?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 119(C).
    4. Crost, Benjamin & Felter, Joseph H. & Johnston, Patrick B., 2016. "Conditional cash transfers, civil conflict and insurgent influence: Experimental evidence from the Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 171-182.
    5. 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.
    6. Roxana Guti'errez-Romero, 2020. "Conflict in Africa during COVID-19: social distancing, food vulnerability and welfare response," Papers 2006.10696,
    7. Zürcher, Christoph, 2017. "What Do We (Not) Know About Development Aid and Violence? A Systematic Review," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 506-522.
    8. Yashodhan Ghorpade & Patricia Justino, 2019. "Winning or buying hearts and minds?: Cash transfers and political attitudes in Pakistan," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2019-91, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Gutiérrez-Romero, Roxana, 2022. "Conflicts increased in Africa shortly after COVID-19 lockdowns, but welfare assistance reduced fatalities," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    10. Travers Barclay Child & Elena Nikolova, 2017. "War and Social Attitudes: Revisiting Consensus Views," HiCN Working Papers 258, Households in Conflict Network.

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