Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Alexander Persaud


Since its rollout in 2009, Aadhaar, India’s biometric identification system, has generated unique IDs for nearly 95% of India’s population. Since 2009, a variety of public and private services in India have been linked to Aadhaar. This linkage is intended to improve access to public welfare and private services for marginalized groups, such as third gender individuals and rurally located groups, who were historically left out of public welfare programs due to the absence of formal identification. However, there is a general lack of research on how effective Aadhaar is in linking individuals to state and private services and how Aadhaar impacts the lives of marginalized groups. This study employs data from the State of Aadhaar 2019 report to analyze the effect of Aadhaar attainment on access to two key public services and two key private services: 1) the Public Distribution System (PDS), the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), 3) savings accounts, and 4) SIM cards. Data was also used to control for demographic factors such as gender, caste, and rural locality in order to examine how different groups are able to access the select public and private services. In the preferred econometric model, results suggest that Aadhaar has a positive relationship with each of the select services; individuals with Aadhaar have a high probability of using the select public or private service as compared to individuals without Aadhaar. Results also suggest that marginalized groups are less likely to use the select services than their more privileged counterparts, and access to Aadhaar may do little to address this issue.

Available for download on Thursday, June 27, 2024