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Estimating leakages in India’s Employment Guarantee: an Update

Research1 min read

Authors: Clément Imbert, John Papp

Published by: Rice Institute

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A method of measuring corruption in MGNREGS is to compare the aggregate levels of employment reported in official data (MPR or MIS) with independent measures based on household surveys (Bhalla 2011, Himanshu 2010, Imbert and Papp 2011). We follow this method here and compare MGNREGS employment in official reports to the estimated number of days spent by rural adults on any public works estimated based on NSS Survey data.

The results, presented in Table 1, reveal that in 2007-08 only 51% of reported MGNREGS employment is independently confirmed by the survey data. This is despite the fact that our survey measure includes employment on any public works project.

The gap between official and survey measures suggests large leakages of MGNREGS funds. Interestingly, this gap appears to narrow over time to 71% in 2009-10 and 80% in 2011-12. This is consistent with survey reports which indicate that corruption in MGNREGS decreased, due to improved monitoring and successive reforms in the payment of MGNREGS wages (Dreze 2014, Muralidharan, Niehaus and Sukhtankar 2014, Banerjee, et al. 2014)


r.i.c.e. is a nonprofit research organization, dedicated to understanding the lives of poor people, especially young children, in India, and to promoting their well-being.

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