IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Public Works and Employment Programmes: Towards a Long-Term Development Approach


  • Radhika Lal

    () (International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth)

  • Steve Miller

    () (New School, Global Program of International Affairs and Independent Consultant)

  • Maikel Lieuw-Kie-Song

    () (Independent researcher and consultant)

  • Daniel Kostzer

    () (Social Development Cluster, UNDP Argentina)


Public works and employment programmes have long been considered a staple of social assistance. For the most part, though, they have been designed as short-term ?safety nets?. While, in some cases, the focus has also been on reducing poverty or addressing structural unemployment challenges, their implementation has seldom been on a scale that would make a dent in structural poverty. The fact that large scale programmes such as India?s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), which was initiated prior to the recent economic crisis, could also be effective in responding speedily to and mitigating the effects of the crisis has elicited interest in such policies as a component of inclusive growth paths. In making the case for a longer-term development approach, the paper points out that such an approach would not only allow these programmes to act as shock absorbers without being ?too little, too late? but would also enable the state to strengthen its capacities to provide support to livelihood strategies of the poor through addressing critical public goods and service deficits while creating jobs. In this context, the paper assesses the desirability and feasibility of adopting a universal or a partial Employment Guarantee (EG) to make such programmes a more stable complement to market-driven employment creation in situations where levels of poverty, in particular, working poverty, and underemployment are high. The paper also explores the complementarities and interactions with various social assistance and cash transfer programmes with a view to fostering a more comprehensive approach to social protection for the poor. The paper concludes with a section on implementation issues with a view to strengthening learning on how to plan, design and implement long-term and Employment Guarantee types of public employment programmes. (?)

Suggested Citation

  • Radhika Lal & Steve Miller & Maikel Lieuw-Kie-Song & Daniel Kostzer, 2010. "Public Works and Employment Programmes: Towards a Long-Term Development Approach," Working Papers 66, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
  • Handle: RePEc:ipc:wpaper:66

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2010
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:jqecon:v:16:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s40953-017-0073-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Marife M. Ballesteros & Danilo C. Israel, 2014. "Study of Government Interventions for Employment Generation in the Private Sector," Working Papers id:6059, eSocialSciences.
    3. repec:eee:wdevel:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:111-124 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Matteo G. Richiardi, 2015. "Liberia.Expanding formal employment through labour market reforms," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 144, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    5. Parantap Basu & Kunal Sen, 2015. "Welfare Implications of the Indian Employment Guarantee Programme with a Wage Payment Delay," CEGAP Working Papers 2015_01, Durham University Business School.
    6. Kailash Chandra Pradhan & Shrabani Mukherjee, 2018. "Covariate and Idiosyncratic Shocks and Coping Strategies for Poor and Non-poor Rural Households in India," Journal of Quantitative Economics, Springer;The Indian Econometric Society (TIES), vol. 16(1), pages 101-127, March.
    7. Klonner, Stefan & Oldiges , Christian, 2014. "Safety Net for India's Poor or Waste of Public Funds? Poverty and Welfare in the Wake of the World's Largest Job Guarantee Program," Working Papers 0564, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    8. Basu, Parantap & Sen, Kunal, 2015. "Welfare Implications of India's Employment Guarantee Programme with a Wage Payment Delay," IZA Discussion Papers 9454, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Radhika Lal, 2010. "Rethinking Public Employment Programmes: Moving Beyond Safety Nets?," One Pager 112, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    10. Lieuw-Kie-Song, Maikel. & Philip, Kate. & Tsukamoto, Mito. & Van Imschoot, Marc., 2011. "Towards the right to work : innovations in public employment programmes (IPEP)," ILO Working Papers 994607683402676, International Labour Organization.
    11. Laura Zimmermann, 2014. "Public works programs in developing countries have the potential to reduce poverty," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 1-25, May.
    12. Leisa Perch, 2012. "Understanding the Socio-Environmental Policy Space," Policy Research Brief 20, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.

    More about this item


    Public Works and Employment Programmes: Towards a Long-Term Development Approach;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ipc:wpaper:66. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Andre Lyra). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.