(When) Do Anti-Poverty Programs Reduce Violence? India's Rural Employment Guarantee and Maoist Conflict

42 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2014 Last revised: 23 Apr 2016

See all articles by Aditya Dasgupta

Aditya Dasgupta

University of California, Merced

Kishore Gawande

University of Texas at Austin

Devesh Kapur

University of Pennsylvania - Center for the Advanced Study of India; Center for Global Development

Date Written: April 22, 2016

Abstract

Theory and extensive evidence connect poverty and underdevelopment to civil conflict, yet evidence on the impact of development programs on violence is surprisingly mixed. To break this impasse, we exploit a within-country policy experiment to examine the conditions under which anti-poverty programs reduce violence. The roll-out of India's National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme caused a large long-run reduction in Maoist conflict violence, as measured with an original data set based on local language press sources. These pacifying effects were not uniform, however, but overwhelmingly concentrated in districts with sufficient pre-existing local state capacity to implement the program effectively. The results demonstrate the potential for anti-poverty programs to mitigate violent civil conflict by improving livelihoods, but also highlight the crucial role of state capacity in shaping these effects.

Keywords: Poverty, Violence, Civil Conflict, Social Programs, South Asia

JEL Classification: O10, D72, D74, I38

Suggested Citation

Dasgupta, Aditya and Gawande, Kishore and Kapur, Devesh, (When) Do Anti-Poverty Programs Reduce Violence? India's Rural Employment Guarantee and Maoist Conflict (April 22, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2495803 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2495803

Aditya Dasgupta

University of California, Merced ( email )

P.O. Box 2039
Merced, CA 95344
United States

Kishore Gawande (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Devesh Kapur

University of Pennsylvania - Center for the Advanced Study of India ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/casi/about/devesh.html

Center for Global Development

2055 L St. NW
5th floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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