Research

Publications
  1. Bose, Nayana, and Shreyasee Das. 2017. "Women's Inheritance Rights, Household Allocation and Gender Bias." American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, 107 (5): 150-153. https://doi.org/10.1257/aer.p20171128
  2. Bose, N. and S. Das. 2017. "Political Reservation for Women and Delivery of Public Works Program." Review of Development Economics, Forthcoming. https://doi.org/10.1111/rode.12336 [pre-publication version]
Working Papers
  • Intergenerational Effects of Improving Women's Property Rights: Evidence from India (with Nayana Bose) [Full Text] 
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the intergenerational effects following the positive changes in women's inheritance rights in India. The amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, the law governing inheritance for Hindus, empowered unmarried daughters at the time of the reform to have equal rights to inherit ancestral property as their brothers. We employ a difference-in-differences strategy and exploit the state level variation in a woman's exposure to the reform. Using the Indian Human Development Survey data for rural India, we find that the property rights reform significantly increased women's education. Focusing on the intergenerational impact, we find no evidence of improvements in her children's education. We explore two potential mechanisms to explain these results: the role of status conflict among spouses and the role of birth-order and gender composition of the children. Given that a woman's bargaining power may depend on her relative position to that of her husband's, we investigate this channel and find a significant decrease in her sons' education in households where fathers are less educated than mothers.  Accounting for the child's birth-order and gender, we find no significant impact on children's educational attainment.   

  • State Rights over Water and Agricultural Productivity: Evidence from the Krishna Basin  [Full Text
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of intrastate water reallocation on agricultural productivity. Specifically, I look at the 1976 Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal that reallocated the rights of three Indian states over the Krishna Rive. I exploit district-time variation in access to water to obtain causal effects of water reallocation on crop output and yield. Results suggest that on average, the decision reduces district output by 7.7% and yield by 5.5%. The weak negative net effects of the decision are comprised of productivity gains for the most downstream state, Andhra Pradesh, that are more than offset by the productivity losses for the upstream states Maharashtra and Karnataka. The negative impacts for Maharashtra, pronounced especially during periods of drought, are significant at conventional significance levels. Thus, the 1976 reallocation of state rights over water from the Krishna Basin was redistributive and weakly reduced overall efficiency.
  • 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)
    (new draft coming soon)
    Abstract:
    The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) of 2005 guarantees adult members of rural households to a minimum of 100 days of employment with certain provisions geared specifically 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, we find no significant impact of the program on children's education. Although our results are not significant, we find consistent negative coefficients on girls' schooling. These results suggest the interplay of two opposing channels. On the one hand, the increase in income due the program could increase children's schooling. On the other hand, the rise in mothers' work and hence, absence from home may have adversely affected children's education, especially for the older children.

  • Women's Inheritance Rights and Fertility Decisions: Evidence from India (with Nayana Bose)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of increased women’s rights on women's fertility choices. We focus on an Indian reform, the 2005 Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, that increased women's access to property to measure its impact on women’s empowerment and her fertility decisions. We examine whether greater empowerment affects her ability to attain her desired fertility. Given the existence of son preference in India, that manifests into skewed sex ratio, we specifically assess whether mothers who are more empowered have an impact on the sex ratio of her children. Using IHDS data, we examine whether women who benefit from the reform use their bargaining power to make fertility decisions. We find that treated women have 0.26 more children than their counterparts. Also, given the cultural preference for boys which has led to the case of “missing women” in India, we examine the sex ratio of children to assess whether household that were impacted by the reform continue to exhibit “boy preference.” We find that treated women exhibit greater son preference as captured by a decrease in the sex ratio (of girls to boys) between treated and control mothers. This would suggest that women are using not using their position to distribute resources equitably among all her children; in fact, it seems treated mothers provide more support to the boy child while on average showing greater neglect to the girl child. These results also indicate that mothers view children, especially sons, as investment goods who will increase her chance of survival in old age. We augment our analysis by also using the NFHS data.
  • Marriage Market Responses in the event of a Natural Disaster (with Shatanjaya Dasgupta)
    Abstract: In the backdrop of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake that resulted in over 20000 casualties and large scale loss of property, this paper analyzes marriage market responses in the event of a natural disaster. Using the 2004-05 round of the Indian Human Development Survey, we employ a difference-in-differences strategy and find a significantly lower probability of marital matches within the same villages. Accounting for the heteregoneity in exposure to the disaster, we find a significant decrease in women’s age at marriage and their likelihood to marry more educated husbands in districts that were most affected by the earthquake. Additionally, we explore potential mechanisms to further shed light on our results.

          Works in Progress
  • Revisiting Women's Empowerment in the context of Female Political Participation (with Upasak Das)
  • Improved sanitation and its role in gender equality: Evidence from the Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan (with Nayana Bose & Upasak Das) [working title]
  • The Role of Polygamy in Family Size and Fertility Decisions (with Nayana Bose)
         Permanent Working Paper