Centre for Economic Performance
London School of Economics
London WC2A 2AE
I am a PhD candidate, and Fellow, at the London School of Economics. My research focusses on the intersection of Development and Environmental Economics with topics in Labour, Trade, and Industrial Organisation.
- Growth and Development,
- Energy and Environmental Economics,
- Labour Economics,
- Productivity and Innovation,
- Economic Geography and Trade,
- Public Policy.
- Winner of the FEEM Award 2013 (Young Economist Prize awarded by the European Economic Association).
Selected Work In Progress:
The Productivity Effects of Labour Reallocation: Evidence from India (New Version Forthcoming)
Abstract: Wages and output per worker are significantly higher in non-agricultural sectors than in agriculture, especially in developing countries. While these gaps are apparent, less clear is how they should be interpreted. This paper seeks to understand the relative contribution of misallocation in explaining these differences in productivity by examining how the exogenous movement of workers out of agriculture affects productivity and wages in destination sectors. I estimate that these movements are associated with an increase in manufacturing productivity (TFP and output per worker), an increase in the average wages of permanent manufacturing workers, and a decrease in the average wages of casual manufacturing workers. These results are consistent with the predictions of a model in which labour is efficiently allocated across sectors within skill groups, but where adjustment costs impede the movement of labour between skill groups resulting in misallocation, suggesting significant gains from reallocation. Counterfactual estimates reveal that the removal of this distortion would result in a 12% increase in output. By contrast, removing the total wage gap -- a naïve estimate of misallocation -- increases output by 57%. These results suggest that while there are gains to understanding and relaxing the constraints that impede the movement of workers out of agriculture, investing in relative development -- to improve productivity and human capital in rural areas --, is likely to have a greater impact on aggregate productivity and welfare.
Uncertainty, Child Labour, and Human Capital Accumulation (New Version Forthcoming)
(FEEM Award Winner 2013)
Abstract: How does economic uncertainty affect human capital accumulation in developing countries? I explore the effects of income uncertainty on the child labour and schooling decisions of smallholder farmers in rural Ethiopia. An increase in uncertainty is associated with an increase the number of hours children spend working on the farm, while reducing the number of hours spent on domestic chores. This results in a change in the composition, rather than the total amount, of time allocated to child labour. Consistent with this intensive margin adjustment, there is no significant impact of contemporaneous uncertainty on human capital accumulation. However, an increase in economic uncertainty at the time when educational decisions are first being made is associated with an increase in the likelihood that children do not attend school at the time of the survey. These results suggest that economic conditions at the time when children first reach school age can have a significant, and persistent, impact on human capital accumulation in developing countries.
with Yonas Alem
Abstract: When agents are not fully insured and have distorted beliefs about the likelihood of future income realisations, uncertainty about future states of the world has a direct effect on individual welfare. However, separating the effects of uncertainty from realised events, and identifying the welfare effects of uncertainty, presents a number of empirical challenges. Combining individual-level panel data from rural and urban Ethiopia with high-resolution meteorological data we estimate the empirical relevance of uncertainty on objective consumption and subjective well-being. While negative income shocks affect both objective consumption measures and subjective well-being, greater income uncertainty, only has an affect on subjective well-being. A one standard deviation change in income uncertainty is equivalent to a one standard deviation change in realised consumption. These results indicate that the welfare gains from further consumption smoothing are substantially greater than estimates based solely on consumption fluctuations.