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Development Discussion Paper
Can Workfare Programs Moderate Violence? Evidence from India
Thiemo Fetzer
June 2014
Paper No' EOPP 053:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: D74; Q34; J65

Tags: social insurance; conflict; india; insurgency

Governments in conflict torn states scramble for effective policies to persistently reduce levels of violence. This paper provides evidence that a workfare program that functions as a social insurance, providing employment opportunities in times of need, may be an effective antidote to shut down an important mechanism that drives conflict. By mitigating adverse income shocks, the Indian National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme has been successful in removing the income dependence of insurgency violence and thus, contributes to persistently lower levels of violence.