NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Arthur Alik-Lagrange

Toulouse School of Economics

E-Mail: arthur.alik@tse-fr.eu
Institutional Affiliation: Toulouse School of Economics

NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2016Social Frictions to Knowledge Diffusion: Evidence from an Information Intervention
with Martin Ravallion: w21877
Does knowledge about antipoverty programs spread quickly within poor communities or are there significant frictions, such as due to social exclusion? We combine longitudinal and intra-household observations in estimating the direct knowledge gain from watching an information movie in rural India, while randomized village assignment identifies knowledge sharing with those in treatment villages who did not watch the movie. Knowledge is found to be shared within villages, but less so among illiterate and lower caste individuals, especially when also poor; these groups relied more on actually seeing the movie. Sizable biases are evident in impact estimators that ignore knowledge spillovers.
March 2015Inconsistent Policy Evaluation: A Case Study for a Large Workfare Program
with Martin Ravallion: w21041
Evaluations of workfare programs in poor rural economies have typically ignored two features that policy makers stress: involuntary unemployment and the expected welfare losses from work requirements. The paper generalizes past evaluation theory and methods to incorporate both features, and shows that doing so can switch the policy ranking in favor of welfare over workfare. A case study for India’s massive National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme indicates lower impacts on poverty than suggested by past methods, despite a more “poor-poor” incidence. A basic-income guarantee would dominate net workfare earnings in terms of the impact on poverty for a given budgetary outlay.
 
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