Room 332 Monroe Hall
Department of Economics
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Phone (Mobile): +44 (0)75 4587 1723
|I am an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Virginia. My research focusses on Environmental and Development Economics.|
- Environmental and Energy Economics,
- Growth and Development,
- Public Economics,
- Labour Economics,
- Industrial Organization,
- International Trade.
- Winner of the FEEM Award 2013 (Young Economist Prize awarded by the European Economic Association).
Abstract: To what degree can the movement of workers across sectors mitigate the economic consequences of weather-driven agricultural productivity shocks? Combining worker-level, firm-level and district-level data with high-resolution meteorological data, I examine the effects of weather on economic activity in India. I estimate that increases in temperature are associated with a reduction in agricultural production, but that prices do not respond, consistent with a "law of one price". Consequently, I find that workers are able to manage reductions in agricultural labour demand by moving into the manufacturing sector, highlighting the importance of market integration and diversification. Having established this, I examine the effects of labour reallocation on economic outcomes in the formal manufacturing sector. I find that workers move into casual manufacturing activities, with a corresponding decrease in the average wage of casual workers, suggesting that workers face little impediment in the movement across sectors within casual tasks. More surprisingly, this reallocation also results in (a) an increase in manufacturing productivity, (b) the average wage of permanent manufacturing workers, and (c) an increase in the number of items that the firm produces -- a restructuring of production. Counterfactual estimates suggest that the reallocation of labour across sectors could significantly offset the economic losses of weather-driven agricultural productivity shocks.
Abstract: Separating the effects of uncertainty from realised events and identifying the welfare effects of uncertainty both present a number of empirical challenges. Combining individual-level panel data from rural Ethiopia with high-resolution meteorological data, we estimate that an increase in income uncertainty -- proxied by rainfall variability, after controlling for both contemporaneous and historical weather events -- is associated with a reduction in objective consumption and subjective well-being. These results suggest that the welfare gains from managing both short-run weather events, as well as long-run climatic change, are likely to be substantially greater than estimates based solely on realised shocks.
Abstract: How does parental income uncertainty affect child labour and human capital investments in village economies? Theoretically the relationship between income uncertainty and human capital is ambiguous: on the one hand a precautionary response could reduce investments in human capital; on the other hand a portfolio motive could increase investments in human capital as households attempt to diversify their income streams. Using child-level panel data from rural Ethiopia I estimate the effects of parental income uncertainty – proxied by rainfall variability, after controlling for contemporaneous and historical shocks – on child labour and educational outcomes. Interestingly, I find that an increase in uncertainty at the time of the survey is associated with a reduction in the number of hours children spend working on the farm and an increase in the number of hours spent studying at home, suggesting that parents invest more in human capital in response to an increase in uncertainty. Consistent with such a response I find that an increase in parental income uncertainty is also associated with an increase in the likelihood that a child attends school and an increase in the number of grades achieved. However, consistent with the precautionary motive I estimate that an increase in parental income uncertainty during the early stages of a child’s life cycle – when the portfolio response is weakest – is associated with a reduction in the likelihood that the child attends school. This relationship weakens and reverses as the child grows older and the returns to education, and consequently diversification, increase.