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A Consensus Unravels: NREGA and the Paradox of Rules-Based Welfare in India

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  • Matthew McCartney

    () (Oxford University)

  • Indrajit Roy

    (Oxford University)

Abstract

Abstract The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) was launched in India in 2006, and a widespread view is emerging that though flawed the NREGA has been successful in providing employment to the poorest. There was wide agreement among scholars before 2006 that India would not be able to promote such a regime of rules-based welfare and that schemes providing targeted patronage, open to political and bureaucratic manipulation and clientelism, would continue to be the norm. This article confirms that the NREGA was indeed a paradox and constructs a number of hypotheses using a political economy framework to explain it.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew McCartney & Indrajit Roy, 2016. "A Consensus Unravels: NREGA and the Paradox of Rules-Based Welfare in India," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 28(4), pages 588-604, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:28:y:2016:i:4:d:10.1057_ejdr.2015.32
    DOI: 10.1057/ejdr.2015.32
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    India; welfare; employment; patronage; political economy;

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