I am a PhD candidate in Economics at the University of Paris IX
I conduct research in political economy and development. Particularly, my research seeks to understand the workings of real world institutions such as the judiciary and its interaction with other state bureaucracies. In my job market paper, I show how the presidential appointment of judges in the superior courts impact judicial decision-making.
JUDICIARY’S ACHILLES HEEL: EXECUTIVE CONTROL VIA APPOINTMENT POWER
To what extent does the selection mechanism of the judges impact judicial decision making? We document a substantial increase in judicial independence and reduced case delay in Pakistan, as a result of a 2010 judicial selection reform which changed the selection procedure of the judges from the presidential appointment of the judges to the selection of judges by a judicial commission (consisting of peer judges). Using mandatory retirement age as an instrument for new appointments, we estimate the causal effect of the change in appointment procedure on judicial independence and case delay. Better enforcement of laws regulating land disputes with government agencies is the key mechanism driving these results. We further show that the judges selected by the judicial commission are significantly less likely to be politically active prior to their appointments or receive the controversial “Prime Minister’s Assistance Package” (that awards residential plots to the judges) compared to the judges appointed by the president. The new judges who did accept the package are more likely to rule in favour of the government.
GEOPOLITICS, AID LEGISLATIONS AND THE CAUSAL EFFECT OF AID ON GROWTH
Does foreign aid cause growth? We show that foreign aid even when given for purely strategic reasons boosts growth. The identification strategy relies on geopolitical events and changes in aid legislations in the United States to identify the causal impact of foreign aid on output growth in Pakistan. We further provide disaggregated evidence where regions with greater exposure to aid gain disproportionately more during the aid windfalls. An instrumental variable strategy confirms the main results, where we instrument aid shocks to Pakistan by changes in aid legislations in the United States. We justify the exclusion restriction by providing evidence against various alternative explanations such as the confounding of US aid with US trade, investments, non-US aid and military spending. The study of mechanisms reveal that a rise of teachers’ salaries is a key mechanism explaining the results.
STRUCTURAL CAUSES OF FLAWED ELECTIONS AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES FOR CITIZEN TRUST OF GOVERNMENT (with Lisa Chauvet, Anke Hoeffler and Paul Collier)
In this paper, we combine four databases on political institutions and elections to study flawed elections in a cross-country setting. This gives us a dataset that covers over 100 developing countries from 1976-2011. We first ask, what determines electoral fraud? Across all datasets and cheat variables, we find that natural resources is an important determinant of electoral fraud, conditional on institutional (constraints). To mitigate the endogeneity of natural resource rents variable, we instrument it with commodity prices in the international market in a Probit IV framework. Doing so, makes our results even more pronounced, implying a possibly negative omitted variable bias in our Probit estimations. In studying the various types of electoral fraud, we find participants liberally substitute between various kinds of cheating methods. Finally, we also cross-check our results with individual level survey data from 18 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa to conclude that electoral fraud erodes populations’ trust in state institutions.
TERRORISM AND THE MACROECONOMY: EVIDENCE FROM PAKISTAN
Pakistan with highest number of terrorism related deaths of any country over the past decade, the number exceeding the total terrorism related deaths for both the European and North American continents, provides an ideal laboratory to study impact of terrorism on the macroeconomy (GTD, 2012). Quasi-Structural VAR, VECM, Impulse Response Functions and Granger-Causality tests on a sample that covers over 4500 terrorist incidents and consequent 10, 200 deaths [from 1973 to 2010] are employed to study the relationship between terrorism and the macroeconomy. One of the major advantages of the current methodology is that it not only enables one to circumvent the heterogeneity biases inherent in cross-country studies but it also allows distinguishing between short and long-run effects. It is documented that cumulatively terrorism has cost Pakistan around 33.02 % of its real national income i.e. terrorism costs Pakistan around 1 % of real GDP per capita growth every year.
Mehmood, S., 2014. Terrorism and the macroeconomy: Evidence from Pakistan. Defence and Peace Economics, 25(5), pp. 509-534.
RESEARCH IN PROGRESS
JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE OVER THE LONG RUN (with Avner Seror)
AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CAUSES OF ABOLITION OF SLAVERY (with Ekaterina Zhuravskaya)
SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES
2018: Institutional and Organizational Economics Academy (IOEA), American Law and Economic Association (ALEA), Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), Casual Friday Development Seminar (CFDS).
2017: Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), Institutional and Organizational Economics Academy (IOEA), PSE Applied Economics Seminar, DIAL Development Conference.