The Right to Work and to Live: The Implications of India’s NREGS Program for Missing Women

37 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2019

See all articles by Trupti Chaure

Trupti Chaure

University of Oklahoma

Daniel L. Hicks

University of Oklahoma - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 30, 2019

Abstract

Limited economic opportunity for women reduces their household bargaining power and the economic value of daughters, amplifying son preference. This paper studies India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the largest workfare program in the world, which paid men and women equal salary and mandated at least one-third of workers be women. In a setting where the gender gap in employment and wages are sizeable, NREGS represented both an income shock and a large relative improvement in the labor market for women. We use the staggered roll-out of NREGS to show that districts which implemented the program earlier experienced an improvement in child sex ratios in favor of girls. Although program implementation was nonrandom, we find impacts exist only in rural areas, not in the urban counterparts of the same district, where NREGS did not operate. Furthermore, effects are larger in middle and upper income districts and districts with the most skewed initial sex ratios, results which are inconsistent with an alternative selection story. Finally, the effects appear only for rural youth sex ratios, not for adult sex ratios, suggesting endogenous migration is not driving the results.

Keywords: missing women, sex ratio, NREGA, public works

JEL Classification: O13, J1, I38

Suggested Citation

Chaure, Trupti and Hicks, Daniel Lee, The Right to Work and to Live: The Implications of India’s NREGS Program for Missing Women (May 30, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3396749 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3396749

Trupti Chaure

University of Oklahoma ( email )

307 W Brooks
Norman, OK 73019
United States

Daniel Lee Hicks (Contact Author)

University of Oklahoma - Department of Economics ( email )

729 Elm Avenue
Norman, OK 73019-2103
United States

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