Title: Employment Guaranteed? Social Protection during a Pandemic
Authors: Kanika Mahajan, Farzana Afridi, Nikita Sangwan
Discussant: Swati Dhingra


We conducted the fourth Consumer Pyramids Research Seminar on 22 December 2020 at 6.00 PM IST.

Event Summary

The researchers presented results from their paper studying the role of employment guarantee schemes enacted after the COVID-19 lockdown to help communities recover. The study also examined the effects of the lockdown on employment for different demographic groups over time as restrictions eased. The presentation lasted over 45 minutes, and was attended by an interactive audience.

The study employed the CPHS employment and income data, NREGA workdays data, and NSS out-migration data. The researchers used a DiD specification to compare the change in the employment rate after the pandemic, and a matched-DiD specification for estimating the impacts of the PM-GKRA scheme.

Overall, they found a 13 percentage point fall in employment following the lockdown. In addition, they estimated employment losses by regions, gender, and age cohorts. The study revealed that there was a greater recovery in employment in rural districts, especially for women and older individuals, where state capacity was better with respect to pre-pandemic NREGA implementation.

Swati Dhingra, serving as the discussant, outlined questions the authors could explore to advance their work and suggested further investigations into the mechanisms behind their results. She highlighted the importance of their findings on new female labour force entrants, and recommended additional statistical regressions and tests to establish causality.

During the presentation the authors received questions, comments, and suggestions from the audience as well. The session concluded with Sangwan and Mahajan answering some of the audience’s remaining questions.

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