The Effect of a Workfare Programme on Psychological Wellbeing in India
Little is known about the effect of poverty alleviation programmes on mental health. In this paper we use variation in district implementation dates and location of residence to examine the short-run effect of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in India on psychological wellbeing. We find that in the first year of the programme, women in recipient districts were less likely to experience depression symptoms. The effects of the programme on men’s mental health, on the other hand, are generally not statistically significant and are not robust to different specifications. We provide suggestive evidence that one mechanism through which the programme could have affected women, at least in the short-run, was providing them with greater economic security and independence.