Thursday, February 22

Labor market shocks, Social Protection and Women’s Work

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By Nikita Sangwan & Swati Sharma

Working Paper No- 453

In this study we focus on the lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic that highlighted the vulnerabilities faced by women in labor markets – globally and domestically. We investigate whether public policy measures mitigate these vulnerabilities. In particular, we study the implications of lockdown triggered reverse migration on Labor Force Participation of rural women, focusing on mandated provisions under MGNREGA and GKRA. We find evidence of complementarity of the two social employment schemes and rule out any crowding out of NREGA person-days by GKRA. Our analysis shows that despite these schemes rural women lost employment due to competition from men. Their share in NREGA person-days fell by 0.4% during the pandemic. Interestingly, the mandated provisions for women in NREGA works helped women preserve their employment status. Our findings underscore the need for special provisions and targeted programs for women to reduce their withdrawal and enhance their participation in the labor market. Our results are robust to seasonality patterns in rural employment and MGNREGA. Furthermore, we validate our findings using monthly individual-level employment data from Consumer Pyramids Household Survey (CPHS), CMIE.

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