Analyzing vulnerability to poverty and assessing the role of universal public works and food security programs to reduce it: Evidence from an eastern Indian state 

Sunil Khosla, Pradyot Ranjan Jena


Social protection (SP) programs have become a widespread intervention to strengthen coping strategies in developing countries to improve the well-being of vulnerable households. Past studies have identified the positive impact of SP on ex-post poverty reduction. However, there is relatively scant evidence of the role of SP in reducing vulnerability to poverty (VtP). This study estimates the role of SP, in particular, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and public distribution system (PDS) in reducing household VtP in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. Firstly, the household VtP was estimated using the feasible generalized least squares (FGLS) method. Secondly, the role of SP in reducing household VtP was analyzed using the quantile regression (QR) approach. This study utilizes cross-sectional data of 1506 rural households from the State of Odisha. The FGLS estimates show that the household VtP rate is 42.43% as opposed to the current poverty rate of 32.87% in the state. The QR results demonstrate that the households that participated in the MGNREGA program are less likely to fall into poverty than those without it. However, household access to the PDS is observed to have no significant association with vulnerability.

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