Bard Events Calendar

Economics Program and the Economic Club Presents

Thursday, May 3, 2018
Do Workfare Programs Promote Climate Resilience and Food Security? Evidence from Indian Agriculture
Campus Center 2nd floor Yellow Room
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Vis Taraz, Assistant Professor of Economics, Smith College
India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), the world’s largest public works program, has been demonstrated to have beneficial impacts on a wide range of outcomes, but its effects on agricultural productivity have been relatively understudied (Sukhtankar 2016a). We test whether NREGA affects agricultural yields, both in terms of average yields and also in terms of the sensitivity of yields to weather shocks. Our empirical strategy exploits the staggered rollout of NREGA and random fluctuations in weather. Using a nationwide dataset, we find that NREGA does not affect the average level of yields, but it does make yields more sensitive to adverse weather shocks. We find evidence that this may be occurring via the channels of wages and labor supply, because the effects we observe are most pronounced for crops that are more labor intensive. Our results suggest that the household-level consumption-smoothing benefits of NREGA must be balanced against challenges to national food security that India faces, particularly in the face of climate change. Hence, implementing complementary programs such as investing in improved seed varieties, expanding extension services, and promoting farm mechanization is critical.

For more information, call 845-758-7386, or e-mail

Time: 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Location: Campus Center 2nd floor Yellow Room