Fiscal Policy, as the “Employer of Last Resort”: Impact of MGNREGS on Labour Force Participation Rates in India
Publication dateFeb, 2018
DetailsNIPFP Working Paper No. 210
AuthorsLekha Chakraborty and Yadawendra Singh
We examine the impact of conditional fiscal transfers on public employment across gender in India taking the case of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). The MGNREGS, as an “employer of last resort” fiscal policy, is a direct employment transfer, which guarantees to provide 100 days of paid work opportunities at a predetermined wage for public works in India through a self-selection criterion. Using unit record data of the latest 68th round of NSS Employment-Unemployment survey, we examined gender differential impacts of MGNREGS on labour force participation rates across States in India. The unit of analysis in our paper is not ‘household’, but is one step ahead to capture the intra-household level of participating behaviour in the economic activity. The results, based on the survey enumerating 2,80,763 individuals in rural areas, revealed that there is a striking heterogeneity in the gender impacts of job guarantee programme across States of India. The probit estimates showed that MGNREGS job card holder’s labour force participation rates were higher than the non-card holders and the result was more pronounced for women. The analysis of the time-use patterns and the unpaid care economy statistics of job guarantee card holders obtained from the unit records also shows that augmenting public investment in care economy infrastructure is significant for the job guarantee programme to function at its full potential in India.
JEL classification codes: C15, C67, D33, E24, J48
Keywords: job guarantee, fiscal policy, gender, care economy, labour force participation rate