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The Impact of Indian Job Guarantee Scheme on Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

  • Azam, Mehtabul

    ()

    (Oklahoma State University)

Public works programs, aimed at building a strong social safety net through redistribution of wealth and generation of meaningful employment, are becoming increasingly popular in developing countries. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), enacted in August 2005, is one such program in India. This paper assesses causal impacts (Intent-to-Treat) of NREGA on public works participation, labor force participation, and real wages of casual workers by exploiting its phased implementation across Indian districts. Using nationally representative data from Indian National Sample Surveys (NSS) and Difference-in-Difference framework, we find that there is a strong gender dimension to the impacts of NREGA: it has a positive impact on the labor force participation and this impact is mainly driven by a much sharper impact on female labor force participation. Similarly, NREGA has a significant positive impact on the wages of female casual workers-real wages of female casual workers increased 8% more in NREGA districts compared with the increase experienced in non-NREGA districts. However, the impact of NREGA on wages of casual male workers has only been marginal (about 1%). Using data from pre-NREGA period, we also perform falsification exercise to demonstrate that the main conclusions are not confounded by pre-existing differential trends between NREGA and non-NREGA districts.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6548.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6548
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  1. Staubli, Stefan, 2011. "The impact of stricter criteria for disability insurance on labor force participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1223-1235, October.
  2. 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.
  3. Hoddinott, John & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 2004. "The Impact of PROGRESA on Food Consumption," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 37-61, October.
  4. Brian Bell & Richard Blundell & John Van Reenen, 1999. "Getting the unemployed back to work: the role of targeted wage subsidies," IFS Working Papers W99/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Carlo del Ninno & Kalanidhi Subbarao & Annamaria Milazzo, 2009. "How to Make Public Works Work : A Review of the Experiences," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11718, The World Bank.
  6. Guido Imbens & Jeffrey Wooldridge, 2008. "Recent developments in the econometrics of program evaluation," CeMMAP working papers CWP24/08, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  7. Basu, Arnab K. & Chau, Nancy & Kanbur, Ravi, 2007. "A Theory of Employment Guarantees: Contestability, Credibility and Distributional Concerns," IZA Discussion Papers 3002, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Cutler, David M. & Singhal, Monica & Vogl, Tom & Fung, Winnie & Kremer, Michael R., 2010. "Early-Life Malaria Exposure and Adult Outcomes: Evidence from Malaria Eradication in India," Scholarly Articles 5344529, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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