Pushing Welfare: Encouraging Awareness and Uptake of Social Benefits in South India

Erlend Berg, D Rajasekhar, R Manjula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Governments in many developing countries offer social welfare schemes that few take up or even know of. We undertake a randomized-controlled evaluation of agents trained in the facilitation of 16 government social welfare schemes in south India. The agents were incentivized to seek out eligible households, provide them with information about the schemes and help them apply. We find that the agents increase scheme awareness, but not application submission or scheme obtention. Among members of government-sponsored community groups, agents have no effect. Scheme-specific analysis suggests that the program may have had an impact on two schemes that were relatively new, subject to special focus under the program and administered by the implementing department. Despite a modest effect on awareness, the intervention led to a significant increase in satisfaction with government services.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEconomic Development and Cultural Change
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Feb 2020

Structured keywords

  • ECON Applied Economics
  • ECON CEPS Welfare


  • social security
  • welfare schemes
  • take-up
  • awareness
  • single-window service centers
  • one-stop centers
  • intra-government coordination
  • informal sector
  • randomized controlled trial
  • India


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