American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 6 No. 3 (July 2014)

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Wells, Water, and Welfare: The Impact of Access to Groundwater on Rural Poverty and Conflict

Article Citation

Sekhri, Sheetal. 2014. "Wells, Water, and Welfare: The Impact of Access to Groundwater on Rural Poverty and Conflict." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 6(3): 76-102.

DOI: 10.1257/app.6.3.76

Abstract

This paper evaluates the impact of access to groundwater on poverty using data from rural India. The estimation exploits the fact that the technology required to access groundwater changes exogenously due to constraints imposed by laws of physics at a depth of eight meters. I find that rural poverty in areas where depth from surface is below the cutoff is 9 to 10 percent higher. Using survey data for a subsample of villages, I also show that disputes over irrigation water increase by 25 percent around the cutoff. Historical endowments of groundwater facilitate adoption of yield enhancing technologies over the long-run.

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Online Appendix (442.97 KB) | Download Data Set (157.81 KB) | Author Disclosure Statement(s) (68.86 KB)

Authors

Sekhri, Sheetal (U VA)

JEL Classifications

D74: Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances
I32: Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
O13: Economic Development: Agriculture; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Other Primary Products
O15: Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
O18: Economic Development: Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
Q15: Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
Q16: Agricultural R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services

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