The Employment Guarantee Scheme as a Social Safety Net - Poverty Dynamics and Poverty Alleviation
This paper investigates the dynamic aspects of poverty and anti-poverty interventions, particularly focusing on promotional effects, i.e., the effects of helping the poor escape poverty and protective effects, i.e., the effects of preventing the non-poor from slipping into poverty. We test the effectiveness of the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) in rural India as a social safety net drawing upon the ICRISAT survey data. We have carried out the econometric analysis, namely Cox Proportional Hazard Model to estimate the probability of entering or exiting poverty by various covariates drawing upon annual household panel data during the period 1979 to 1984. The following three conclusions have been derived by our estimation results. Firstly, the results suggest that the EGS has significant promotional and protective roles irrespective of the choice of income poverty lines. This is an important finding in the sense that (1) the EGS was effective in reducing poverty in the long run since poverty reduction is achieved through positive promotional and protective roles and (2) the EGS served as insurance for an annual income shortfall. Secondly, we have identified other important factors which prevent households from entering poverty and help them escape poverty, such as decrease in illness of household members, land and access to formal and informal borrowings. Thirdly, we have found that the static determinants of poverty identified by the probit model and `the cause` of poverty estimated by the Cox Model are not much different, implying that static analysis has some implication in identifying the causes of long-term poverty.
South Asia, India, chronic poverty, Employment Guarantee Scheme, safety net
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