ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Heterogeneous Pro-Poor Targeting in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme

Using 2009-10 National Sample Survey data, this paper describes patterns of job-seeking, rationing, and participation in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. At the national level, it finds that the self-targeting design of MGNREGS leads to greater rates of self-selection into the programme by poorer and scheduled tribe or scheduled caste households. However, the administrative rationing of MGNREGS jobs is not pro-poor but exhibits a sort of middle-class bias. At the state level, roughly half of 27 states exhibit rationing and participation profiles that signal effective pro-poor targeting; the other half struggle to avoid high rates and regressive patterns of administrative rationing of jobs to which the poor have a legal right.

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