Dams

56 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2006 Last revised: 3 Jul 2010

See all articles by Esther Duflo

Esther Duflo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD)

Rohini Pande

Yale University - Economic Growth Center

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2005

Abstract

The construction of large dams is one of the most costly and controversial forms of public infrastructure investment in developing countries, but little is known about their impact. This paper studies the productivity and distributional effects of large dams in India. To account for endogenous placement of dams we use GIS data and the fact that river gradient affects a district's suitability for dams to provide instrumental variable estimates of their impact. We find that, in a district where a dam is built, agricultural production does not increase but poverty does. In contrast, districts located downstream from the dam benefit from increased irrigation and see agricultural production increase and poverty fall. Overall, our estimates suggest that large dam construction in India is a marginally cost-effective investment with significant distributional implications, and has, in aggregate, increased poverty.

Suggested Citation

Duflo, Esther and Pande, Rohini, Dams (October 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11711. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=837154

Esther Duflo (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) ( email )

Duke University
Durham, NC 90097
United States

Rohini Pande

Yale University - Economic Growth Center ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
United States

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