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Rural Public Works and Poverty Alleviation--the case of the employment guarantee scheme in Maharashtra

  • Raghav Gaiha
  • Katsushi Imai

This paper focuses on the poverty alleviating potential of the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) in (the Indian state of) Maharashtra. A point of departure is the shift of emphasis from the static to the dynamic effects of the EGS targeting, measured in terms of individuals moving into and out of poverty, over the period 1979-84. An assessment is made of whether the EGS prevents the vulnerable from falling into poverty or enables the poor to move out of poverty, by distinguishing between the protective and promotional roles of the scheme. Simulations involving a wide range of poverty thresholds and different assumptions about the distribution of EGS earnings reveal that the poverty alleviating potential is limited in most cases. If, however, a larger EGS outlay is combined with more accurate targeting, the potential is substantially greater. Larger outlays are feasible if other rural public works are merged under the EGS. If this is combined with a reallocation in favour of backward areas, the targeting may improve substantially.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02692170110118876
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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Review of Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 131-151

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Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:16:y:2002:i:2:p:131-151
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  1. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1989. "Workfare Vs. Welfare: Incentive Arguments For Work Requirements In Poverty Alleviation Programs," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 314, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Bob Baulch & John Hoddinott, 2000. "Economic mobility and poverty dynamics in developing countries," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 1-24.
  3. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "Transfer Benefits from Public-Works Employment: Evidence for Rural India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1346-69, November.
  4. Subramanian, Shankar & Deaton, Angus, 1996. "The Demand for Food and Calories," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 133-62, February.
  5. T. N. Srinivasan, 1994. "Destitution: A Discourse," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1842-1855, December.
  6. Raghav Gaiha, 2000. "Do Anti-poverty Programmes Reach the Rural Poor in India?," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(1), pages 71-95.
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