Grain banks: An institutional and impact evaluation
This dissertation consists of an institutional and impact evaluation of grain banks in southwest Orissa, India. Grain banks are village-level institutions which provide loans in the form of grains to help households smooth food consumption over the agricultural cycle. In the first chapter, I discuss grain banks in the context of the food insecurity situation in Orissa and compare them to similar interventions in India and elsewhere. In the second chapter, I examine the key institutional and socioeconomic determinants of the likelihood and duration of grain bank survival. This study is motivated by the fact that the majority of grain banks have ceased to function over time. I find that a number of village-level factors have a significant impact on the likelihood and duration of survival, indicating the importance of the socioeconomic environment where grain banks are implemented and the need for careful geographic targeting for improving sustainability. In the third chapter, I examine the impact of grain bank participation by households on young children's health outcomes using propensity score matching. This study is motivated by the gap in knowledge on the impact of grain banks on household and individual food insecurity. I also examine whether this impact varies by the lifespan of the grain bank to test the hypothesis that children in participating households in longer-lived grain bank villages benefit more due to intergenerational effects. I find that grain banks do not have a statistically significant impact on various anthropometric measures examined, indicating that they may not be effective in improving children's health status. In the final chapter, I examine the impact of grain bank participation by households on the incidence of borrowing from private, informal moneylenders, again using propensity score matching. This study is motivated by anecdotal evidence that grain banks displace borrowing from moneylenders. I also examine how this impact varies by the lifespan of the grain bank. I find that grain banks have a large, statistically significant displacement effect on moneylenders, and this effect is even larger in longer-lived grain bank villages.
Dissertation committee: Ravi Kanbur (Chair), Christopher B. Barrett, George H. Jakubson
Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University; Graduate School, Cornell University; Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell University; National Science Foundation SES-0518424.
Project evaluation; Food policy; Rural credit markets
dissertation or thesis