Can the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme Reduce Short-Term Migration: Evidence from West Bengal, India

36 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2013

Date Written: September 14, 2013

Abstract

One of the main issues that concerns policymakers and development scholars working in India is the rapid increase of rural out-migration over the past two decades. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) was passed in 2005 with a view to curb rural out-migration through guaranteed employment in public works. In this context, using a mix of regression analysis and ethnographic evidences, the paper aims to evaluate the impact of the programme in reducing short-term rural migration. Using probit framework, the paper finds no significant impact of household participation in MGNREGS on migration decision. However, if we take number of days of work and annual earnings from MGNREGS as the primary variable, it is found that as the number of days of work and annual earnings by the household increases, its probability, engaging in migration reduces significantly. To account for the possible endogeneity, we make use of bivariate probit technique, probit estimation with endogenous regressors method and two stage estimation methods. But, the test statistics showed no endogeneity enabling us to use simple probit and ordinary least squares estimation methods. The results obtained corroborate with the ethnographic and anecdotal evidences. Further, the results from the regressions are validated through local polynomial smoothening simulations. The findings lay emphasis on better implementation of the programme with planning and vigilance for the households to enjoy its potential benefits including the liberty to stay back and work at their own village.

Keywords: MGNREGS, migration, bivariate probit, endogeneity, impact, West Bengal

Suggested Citation

Das, Upasak, Can the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme Reduce Short-Term Migration: Evidence from West Bengal, India (September 14, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2325898 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2325898

Upasak Das (Contact Author)

University of Manchester ( email )

Manchester
United Kingdom

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