Impact Evaluation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in India

This study aims to thoroughly evaluate the impacts of India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), the largest public works project in the world. NREGS was started in 2006, following the 2005 Act that provides each rural household with a legal right to be employed up to 100 days per year at state-level minimum wage rate. NREGS has the following characteristics. First, it is demand-driven. Second, all rural households are eligible for NREGS and self-selection is the major mechanism to target the poor. Third, NREGS offers equal wage rates to women for the same work as men and makes payment directly to the individual workers. Fourth, NREGS projects are selected at the local level.

View more We aim to explore the following research questions:

1. Targeting and Implementation

How well does NREGS target its intended group? Are the poor (non-poor) self-selecting into (out of) the program, as intended?
2. Partial equilibrium effects
How does NREGS affect the labor allocation, migration, and welfare of its participants? Does participation in NREGS work “crowd out” participants’ labor supply for other purpose such as working on their own or neighbors’ fields?

3. General equilibrium effects and income distributional effects
What are the general equilibrium effects? And what are the distributional effects of NREGS over different types of households such as land owners, laborers, etc.?

4. Gender-specific effects
What are the gender-specific effects? We aim to provide evidence on the magnitude of economic and non-economic benefits derived by females in different income groups from NREGS and the mechanisms that may underlie such effects.

We use two existing data sets: a three-round (2004, 2006, and 2008) panel data set from 4,800 households in Andhra Pradesh and the National Sample Survey data which are collected annually and cover all districts in India.

To examine partial equilibrium effects, we compare NREGS participants with non-participants. Methodologically, we use propensity score matching, double (or triple) differences, and instrumental variable methods. To examine general equilibrium effects (or spillover effects), we explore the phase-in structure of NREGS implementation to compare non-participants in the treatment areas with non-participants in the control areas, using propensity score matching and double (or triple) differences.

The panel data will allow us to control for observed confounding factors, and to examine heterogeneous impacts due to initial conditions. Propensity score matching and instrumental variable methods are used to deal with the selection bias due to non-random program placement and self-selection of program participation.

Research Findings

MEETING PROCEEDINGS- Implementation of MGNREGA in India: A Review of Impacts for Future Learning

To mark the culmination of a collaborative research project titled Impact Evaluation of the
MGNREGA in India, funded by a grant under the 3ie Open Window 4, the Indira Gandhi Institute of
Development Research (IGIDR), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Cornell
University conducted a meeting on “Implementation of MGNREGA in India: A Review of Impacts
for Future Learning”, on Monday, 8 June 2015 at the NASC Complex in New Delhi. The goal was to
share research on the impacts of the MGNREGS conducted as part of the project and by other
researchers elsewhere and to engage in a dialogue with those serving or advising the Government
in various capacities.



From the top to bottom of India's MGNREGA in one week

Megan Sheahan's piece in Economics that Really Matters 



नरेगा से लोगों को, महिलाओं को ताकत मिली है : The fight against bonded labour

In this video, Gyarsi bai from Baran district in Rajasthan (with Nikhil Dey of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangthan) talks about the role played by the NREGA in the Sahariya community's struggle against bonded labour and poverty.