Testing Information Constraints on India's Largest Antipoverty Program

31 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Martin Ravallion

Martin Ravallion

Georgetown University

Dominique P. van de Walle

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Puja Dutta

World Bank

Rinku Murgai

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: September 1, 2013

Abstract

Public knowledge about India's ambitious Employment Guarantee Scheme is low in one of India's poorest states, Bihar, where participation is also unusually low. Is the solution simply to tell people their rights? Or does their lack of knowledge reflect deeper problems of poor people's agency and an unresponsive supply side? This paper reports on an information campaign that was designed and implemented in the form of an entertaining movie to inform people of their rights under the scheme. In randomly-assigned villages, the movie brought significant gains in knowledge and more positive perceptions about the impact of the scheme. But objectively measured employment showed no gain on average, suggesting that the movie created a "groupthink," changing social perceptions about the scheme but not individual efficacy in accessing it. The paper concludes that awareness generation needs to go hand-in-hand with supply-side changes.

Keywords: Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems, Population Policies, Rural Development Knowledge & Information Systems, Primary Education, Knowledge for Development

Suggested Citation

Ravallion, Martin and van de Walle, Dominique P. and Dutta, Puja and Murgai, Rinku, Testing Information Constraints on India's Largest Antipoverty Program (September 1, 2013). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6598, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2323980

Martin Ravallion (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Dominique P. Van de Walle

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-473-7935 (Phone)
202-522-1154 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/dvandewalle

Puja Dutta

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Rinku Murgai

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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