Analyzing the Impact of the World's Largest Public Works Project on Crime

59 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2016 Last revised: 24 Jun 2022

See all articles by Satadru Das

Satadru Das

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Department of Economics; RESERVE BANK OF INDIA

Naci H. Mocan

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: August 2016

Abstract

India started the implementation of a rural public works program in 2006, covering all districts of the country within three years. The program quarantees 100 days of employment per year at minimum wage to each rural household on demand, with the goal of reducing joblessness and poverty. We exploit the design and implementation of this program to investigate its employment impact on various types of crimes, ranging from burglary to kidnapping to riots. We show that the program acts as an insurance scheme because an increase in rainfall, which is negatively correlated with agricultural production, lowers the demand for jobs under the program. Controlling for rainfall, we find that employment generated by the program has a negative impact on both property and violent crime. Although crime elasticities with respect to employment are small, this finding represents another dimension of the social benefit generated by the program.

Suggested Citation

Das, Satadru and Das, Satadru and Mocan, Naci H., Analyzing the Impact of the World's Largest Public Works Project on Crime (August 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22499, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2819903

Satadru Das (Contact Author)

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of economics
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-6308
United States

RESERVE BANK OF INDIA ( email )

Shahid Bhagat Singh Road
Mumbai
Mumbai, Maharashtra 400051
India

Naci H. Mocan

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of economics
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-6308
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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