A Friend Indeed: Does the Use of Biometric Digital Identity Make Welfare Programs Counter Cyclical?

50 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2018 Last revised: 26 Nov 2018

See all articles by Sumit Agarwal

Sumit Agarwal

National University of Singapore

Shradhey Parijat Prasad

Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad

Nishka Sharma

Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad

Prasanna L. Tantri

Indian School of Business

Date Written: June 24, 2018

Abstract

We examine the responsiveness of the world's largest workfare program to distress and ask whether a techno-administrative intervention involving biometric digital identity enabled direct transfer of benefits makes any difference. Wage payment delays, which where high before the intervention, reduce significantly after the intervention. In line with the thesis that delays are more costly and their reduction more beneficial during distress, we find a reduction in demand and supply of jobs during times of economic stress in the pre-intervention period and an increase in demand and supply of jobs during times of economic stress in the post intervention period.

Keywords: MNREGA, MNREGS, Economic Distress, Anti-Poverty Programs, Welfare Economics

JEL Classification: D60, E65, H11, H53, H76

Suggested Citation

Agarwal, Sumit and Prasad, Shradhey Parijat and Sharma, Nishka and Tantri, Prasanna L., A Friend Indeed: Does the Use of Biometric Digital Identity Make Welfare Programs Counter Cyclical? (June 24, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3201746 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3201746

Sumit Agarwal

National University of Singapore ( email )

15 Kent Ridge Drive
Singapore, 117592
Singapore
8118 9025 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ushakrisna.com

Shradhey Parijat Prasad

Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad ( email )

Hyderabad, Gachibowli 500 019
India

Nishka Sharma

Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad ( email )

Hyderabad, Gachibowli 500 019
India

Prasanna L. Tantri (Contact Author)

Indian School of Business ( email )

Hyderabad, Gachibowli 500 032
India
9160099959 (Phone)

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