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) (New Draft in Preparation)

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 (Under Review, Second Round at Review of Development Economics)
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 analyzes the impact of women's empowerment through improved land inheritance rights in India on their own education as well as the intergenerational effect of this reform. Using the Indian Human Development Survey data and a difference-in-differences strategy, we find that the amendment to the Hindu Succession Act is associated with a significant increase of 0.40 years in women's education, especially for those from landed households. Comparing educational outcomes of children whose mothers were affected by the policy change to the control group, we find a significant decrease in boys' education, but no impact on girls' education. We attribute this decrease to treated mothers who more educated and are better able to assess the higher opportunity cost of education for boys in rural households than less educated control group mothers.

The Role of Polygamy in Family Size and Fertility Decisions (with Nayana Bose) (Draft in Preparation)
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.
   

                     Property Rights and Fertility Decisions: Revisiting the Intrahousehold Bargaining Theory" (with Nayana Bose) (Draft in Preparation)
                     Abstract:
This paper examines the effects of empowering women with increased rights on women's fertility choices. The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act of 2005 extended ancestral property rights to unmarried daughters, however, five southern states in India had already passed the same amendment by 1994. We exploit the variation in timing of the reform across states in India to employ a difference-in-difference strategy. Using IHDS data, we find that the amendment significantly increased women's education by 0.48 years of schooling. We analyze the impact of the property rights reform on women's lifetime fertility and find that treated women had 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'' and find suggestive evidence that the female to male sex ratio has decreased.
                          
                    


           Works in Progress
    • Improved sanitation and its role in gender equality: Evidence from the Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan (with Nayana Bose & Upasak Das) [working title]
    • Gender of the Head of the Household and Women's Political Participation (with Upasak Das)

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