I'm a Ph.D. Candidate in Economics at the University of Minnesota. I also serve as a research analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and previously worked at the International Monetary Fund. My research focuses on Contract Theory, Institution Design, and Monetary Policy.

I will be available for interviews at the 2018 ASSA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia ​(January 5-7, 2018).


Shiv Dixit

Department of Economics
1925 Fourth Street South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

CV: Click here for a pdf



Dynamic Epidemiology: Spillovers from Limited Commitment and Private Information

Can variations in immunization rates be accounted for by differences in information and commitment technologies? I document four salient facts concerning the ergodic and cross-sectional distributions of DPT vaccination rates: (i) negative correlation between immunization and the cost of contract enforcement, (ii) higher variance in immunization in countries with larger informal sectors, (iii) less persistence in immunization relative to aggregate income, and (iv) negative skewness in the distribution of immunization over time. These patterns cannot be explained by efficient immunization in a frictionless economy. However, dynamic contracts subject to ex-post one-sided commitment and hidden income can rationalize these facts. This analysis shows that inefficiency in providing public goods, such as limited contract enforcement and the size of the informal sector, can spillover to weak provision of preventive healthcare. A model estimated using U.S. data reveals that an income monitoring technology is welfare enhancing in the long-run, generating an increase of 4.27% in certainty equivalent consumption of the policyholder and 0.6% in the insurer’s surplus. Moreover, efficient risk outcomes estimated using output losses stemming from chronic diseases across U.S. states explain over 90% of ACA Prevention Fund allotments enacted by the CDC. For countries in which a large share of medical expenditure is incurred out-of-pocket (like India), I propose an identification strategy that leverages national account data and labor statistics to construct a time-series for preventive healthcare. Using the consumption neutrality of the efficient risk choice, I also devise a test to show that the hypothesis of limited commitment cannot be rejected in the data. 



Optimal Labor Laws

This paper develops a model where a benevolent constitutional planner has the ability to restrict the allocation space of citizens who are heterogenous in productivity prior to the stochastic determination of a government responsible for structuring the tax system. It finds that limits on cross-sectional dispersion in hours worked can be used as a welfare-enhancing tool to discipline the behavior of elected officials who seek to maximize the objective of their respective constituencies by devising selfishly optimal tax regimes that favor idiosyncratic gains from redistribution over socially suboptimal distortions in the labor wedge. A model calibrated to key moments of the U.S. presidential elections and the Lorenz Curve is consistent with two empirical findings from cross-country data: a positive correlation between maximum workweek limits and skill dispersion, and a negative correlation between minimum wage laws and the proportionality of electoral voting systems.

Efficient Demonetization

Traditional models of money assume that the marginal social cost of printing fiat currency is zero, justifying the optimality of the Friedman rule. However, in an environment where the degree of hidden income is alleviated by the dearth of cash, demonetization could be efficient. I isolate conditions under which state-contingent transfer limits are monotonic in reported endowments and promised values. A model calibrated to the Indian income process reveals that long-run gains in the surplus of the central bank upon switching to a state-contingent monetary policy from a non state-contingent one are 28.48% of aggregate income. 



Monetary Transmission Mechanism in the East African Community: An Empirical Investigation with Hamid Davoodi and Gabor Pinter, Working Paper Series, International Monetary Fund, Washington D.C., 2013, WP/13/39

Tracking Short-term Dynamics of Economic Activity in Low-income Countries in the Absence of High-frequency GDP Data with Maxwell Opoku-Afari, Working Paper Series, International Monetary Fund, Washington D.C., 2012, WP/12/119

East African Community: Taking Off? with Martine Guerguil, Catherine McAuliffe, Hamid Davoodi, and Maxwell Opoku-Afari, Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa, International Monetary Fund, April 2011, 51-73

Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Exchange Rates and Policies in Sub-Saharan Africa with Nabil Ben Ltaifa and Stella Kaendera, African Departmental Paper, International Monetary Fund, 2009, AFR/09/03




State-contingent Coercion

Self-fulfilling Preventive Healthcare and Government Intervention

A Positive Theory of Collateral Constraints with Time-inconsistent Taxation