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Dams

  • Esther Duflo

    ()

  • Rohini Pande

    ()

The construction of large dams is one of the most costly and controversial forms of public infrastructure investment in developing countries, but little is known about their impact. This paper studies the productivity and distributional effects of large dams in India. To account for endogenous placement of dams we use GIS data and the fact that river gradient affects a district's suitability for dams to provide instrumental variable estimates of their impact. We find that, in a district where a dam is built, agricultural production does not increase but poverty does. In contrast, districts located downstream from the dam benefit from increased irrigation and see agricultural production increase and poverty fall. Overall, our estimates suggest that large dam construction in India is a marginally cost-effective investment with significant distributional implications, and has, in aggregate, increased poverty.

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Paper provided by eSocialSciences in its series Working Papers with number id:253.

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Date of creation: Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:253
Note: Institutional Papers
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  1. Gramlich, Edward M, 1994. "Infrastructure Investment: A Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1176-96, September.
  2. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1727, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Petia Topalova, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Poverty, and Inequality: Evidence from Indian Districts," NBER Working Papers 11614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Abhijit Banerjee & Rohini Somanathan, 2004. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 04-17, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  5. Esfahani, Hadi Salehi & Ramirez, Maria Teresa, 2003. "Institutions, infrastructure, and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 443-477, April.
  6. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2005. "History, Institutions, and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1190-1213, September.
  7. Deaton, Angus, 1989. "Rice Prices and Income Distribution in Thailand: A Non-parametric Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(395), pages 1-37, Supplemen.
  8. Petia Topalova, 2010. "Factor Immobility and Regional Impacts of Trade Liberalization Evidenceon Poverty From India," IMF Working Papers 10/218, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Antonio Estache, 1994. "World Development Report: Infrastructure for Development," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/44144, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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