Can the Major Public Works Program in India Serve as Buffer against Negative Shocks? A Panel Study on Andhra Pradesh, India

Aparajita Dasgupta, University of California, Riverside

This study examines the impact of drought shocks on child health drawing on a unique household panel data set from Andhra Pradesh, India. The data follows two age cohorts every four years: a younger cohort of 2,000 children aged between 6 and 18 months and an older cohort of 1,000 children aged between 7.5 and 8.5 years . Utilizing the exogenous variation in drought experience across households, the study first examines whether children exposed to droughts have systematically poorer health outcome as reflected by anthropometric score. The result is disaggregated to see which sub-groups of children are more vulnerable under the crisis along the lines of caste, religion, gender,age and other policy relevant demographic variables. Secondly, using instrumental variable estimation we examine whether the current biggest public works program in India -the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS)- has any buffering effect against the negative shock experienced in early childhood.

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Presented in Poster Session 7