Research


Working Papers


State Rights over Water and Agricultural Productivity: Evidence from the Krishna Basin  [Full Text (Revise and Resubmit, Economic Development and Cultural Change)

The Impact of Temporary Work Guarantee Programs on Children's Education: Evidence from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act from India (with Abhilasha Singh) [Full Text] (Under Review) (new version)

Abstract:
This paper examines the effects of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) on children's education. The program provides adult members of rural households a minimum of 100 days of employment with targeted provisions towards women. The phase-wise rollout of the program allows us to employ a difference-in-differences strategy to examine the effects on children's education. Using two phases of the District Level of Household and Facility Survey, our results show no significant impact of the program on children's completed years of schooling. Further, disaggregating our sample into different age groups, we find no impact of NREGA on education outcomes.

                    Political Reservation for Women and Delivery of Public Works Program (with Nayana Bose) [Full Text] (new version) (Under Review)
Abstract:
In this paper, we examine the impact of political reservations for women on NREGA, India's largest public works program. The 73rd Amendment to the Indian Constitution mandated for one third of the Panchayats to be randomly assigned for female leaders in the village council. Using detailed data on Panchayat elections, employment and public works expenditure for 9 districts in Uttar Pradesh, we find a significant increase in the demand for work under the program but find no effect in the actual take up of work by both men and women. Further, we find mixed evidence with respect to the type of works taken up by female leaders versus their male counterparts. Our study thus adds to the literature on public works distribution under female leaders.


                   Women's Inheritance Rights, Household Allocation and Gender Bias (with Nayana Bose) [Full Text](new version)
                    Abstract:
This paper studies the intergenerational effects of empowering women with increased rights to property. The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act of 2005 extended land rights to unmarried daughters, however, five states in India had already passed the same amendment by 1994.  Using individual and household level data from the IHDS, we find that the amendment significantly increased women's education. Comparing educational outcomes of children of mothers who were treated by the reform to the control group, we find no significant changes in girls' education, but find a significant decrease in that of boys'. Within treated households, girls' education level increases significantly compared to their brothers. We find no significant results on  education expenditure  in these households. Our results are robust to using another source of data, the nationally representative NSSO data.

The Role of Polygamy in Family Size and Fertility Decisions (with Nayana Bose)
Abstract:
In the Indian state of Goa, a former Portuguese colony, Hindu men are permitted to practice bigamy under the following conditions: if his wife is unable to deliver a child by age 25, or if she has failed to bear a male child by the age of 30. Gary Becker in his Theory of Marriage argues that under certain assumptions, one of them being that there are equal number of men and women, monogamous marriages are the optimal outcomes. Yet under certain situations, for example, excess women over men or inequality among men, polygamy can exist. While polygamy under these instances exist due to societal differences, polygamous marriages that occur due to institutions are different in nature and can have long lasting effects on society. We exploit this bigamy law in Goa to conduct a Regression Discontinuity analysis to study its impact on fertility decisions by examining the variations around the cutoff points. We also analyze whether the law has an impact on the number of wives by a married Hindu man to assess whether women are experiencing a reduction in bargaining power, especially in the absence of sons.
   

           Works in Progress
    • Improved sanitation and its role in gender equality: Evidence from the Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan (with Nayana Bose & Upasak Das) [working title]
    • Can education stipends delay age at marriage? Evidence from Bangladesh
    • Impact of NREGA on agriculture and farmer suicide
    • Improving access to water through water allocation and NREGA works

      
         Permanent Working Paper
     
        What is the Return to Attending a Non-Elite Private College? (with Scott Imberman) [Full Text]