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National rural employment guarantee scheme, poverty and prices in rural India

  • Raghav Gaiha
  • Vani Kulkarni
  • Manoj Pandey
  • Katsushi Imai

The objective of this analysis is mainly to construct an intuitive measure of the performance of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in India -a nation-wide poverty alleviation programme which was introduced in 2005. The focus is on excess demand at the district level. Some related issues addressed are (i) whether excess demand responds to poverty, and (ii) whether recent hikes in NREGS wages are inflationary. Our analysis confirms responsiveness of excess demand to poverty. Also, apprehensions expressed about the inflationary potential of recent hikes in NREGS wages have been confirmed. More importantly, higher NREGS wages are likely to undermine self-selection of the poor in it. So, in order to realise the poverty reducing potential of this scheme, a policy imperative is to ensure a speedier matching of demand and supply in districts that are highly poverty prone, as also to avoid the trade-offs between poverty reduction and inflation.

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Paper provided by Economics, The University of Manchester in its series The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series with number 0908.

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:man:sespap:0908
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  1. 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.
  2. Katsushi Imai & Pasquale Scandizzo, 2003. "Option Values, Switches and Wages - An Analysis of the Employment Guarantee Scheme in India," Economics Series Working Papers 164, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Raghbendra Jha & Sambit Bhattacharyya & Raghav Gaiha & Shylashri Shankar, 2008. "Capture of Anti-Poverty Programs: An Analysis of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Program in India," ASARC Working Papers 2008-07, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
  4. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Workfare versus Welfare Incentive Arguments for Work Requirements in Poverty-Alleviation Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 249-61, March.
  5. Jha, Raghbendra & Gaiha, Raghav & Sharma, Anurag, 2009. "Calorie and Micronutrient Deprivation and Poverty Nutrition Traps in Rural India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 982-991, May.
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