The Welfare Effects of India’s Rural Employment Guarantee

OPHI Working Papers

We examine the welfare effects of India’s workfare program NREGA using a novel, almost sharp regression discontinuity design. We find large seasonal consumption increases in states implementing the program intensely, which are a multiple of the direct income gains. We also find increases in adolescents’ school attendance. Our results imply substantial general equilibrium effects. We conclude that, when properly implemented, the public employment program holds significant potential for reducing poverty and insuring households against various adverse implications of seasonal income shortfalls.

Citation: Klonner, S. and Oldiges, C. (2019). ‘The welfare effects of India’s Rural Employment Guarantee’, OPHI Working Paper 129, University of Oxford.

This paper is also published in the Also published in Journal of Development Economics, 2022, Vol. 157, June 2022, 102848.

public works, employment program, social welfare programs, poverty alleviation, safety net, labor markets, poverty, schooling, child labor, India
South Asia

Stefan Klonner and Christian Oldiges
Series Name
OPHI Working Papers
Publication date
JEL Codes
J68, I38, O15
Publication Number
WP 129