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"  The importance of social security systems, providing a safety net for individuals to cope with shocks is well understood in developed countries. Less developed countries struggle with implementing social security schemes, due to a lack of state capacity, which often render these schemes less effective than designed.

However, social insurance schemes may have far greater benefits in societies, where there is latent conflict. My main thesis chapter studies if and how social insurance schemes may contribute to peace and social stability in India. In particular, I study the Indian employment guarantee act and its effect on rural labour markets, mitigating adverse shocks by providing safe outside options. The workfare programs guarantees rural households 100 days of work on public works projects paid at the respective minimum wage. While this type of work may not be attractive in good times, it may provide an important safety net, if, eg, a household is affected by a drought. I show that this scheme has had a significant effect on the dynamics of intra-state conflict: it moderates the cyclical nature of conflict triggered by adverse income shocks due to low monsoon rainfall and thus, helps to contribute to substantially lower levels of overall violence. I show that the causal channel behind the reduction in conflict is due to the insurance that the workfare program provides.

This has important policy implications, since technologies to smooth adverse income shocks, in particular, shocks due to bad weather, will become increasingly important. Climate change is affecting the variability of weather, making it more important to provide households with tools to deal with such types of risk. A workfare program that provides effective insurance has direct welfare effects, by reducing the amount of risk households face. However, my research shows that there are also indirect welfare gains, stemming from greater social stability and a reduction in conflict.

The work on this research would not have been possible, without the support I have received through STICERD. During the Phd I have benefited greatly from the support I received through STICERD. STICERD provides an environment that fosters academic exchange, not only through the provision of shared office space, but also through the seminar series and the many opportunities to interact with fellow academics. However, there is also direct material support. In my case, I was able to benefit from a Morishima grant. This grant, in particular, enabled me to attend research conferences, where I was able to present my research work. Academic conferences are an important vector to disseminate research findings, but also, to interact and get to know the academic community more generally. I am thankful that the grant enabled me to participate at an early stage in my academic career."