Domestic Violence and Workfare: An Evaluation of India's MGNREGA
47 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2019 Last revised: 12 May 2020
Date Written: February 12, 2019
This paper looks at the effect of India's flagship workfare program, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), on domestic violence via its role as social insurance and a means for improving women's say in household decisions. Using a moral hazard theoretical framework, I test the hypothesis that MGNREGS has a mediating effect on the relationship between income shocks and domestic violence. The empirical section uses a difference-in-differences strategy to show that the implementation of MGNREGA reduces the effect of adverse rainfall shocks on offcially reported domestic violence at the district level by 22 percent. Using household panel data, I explore possible channels of increases in women's mobility and decision making. However, there is limited evidence to support the workfare scheme's role in increasing women's 'say' in household decisions.
Keywords: Domestic Abuse, Female Employment, Spousal Violence, MGNREGA
JEL Classification: D10, D74, J12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation