I am a professor of Economics (tenure-track) at the New Economic School in Moscow and lead researcher at the World Bank's DE JURE (Data and Evaluation for Justice Reform) program.
I received my PhD in Economics from the University of Paris in December 2019. I was also a postdoctoral fellow at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) in Barcelona for the year 2020. Previously, I studied in the Netherlands.
Research interests: Development Economics, Political Economy, Applied Machine Learning.
My research interests are in development economics and political economy. Particularly, my research seeks to understand the conditions for establishment of Rule of Law in societies and its consequences for institutional design and development.
Training Effective Altruism (with D. Chen and S. Naseer) - AEA RCT Registry - Invited to Resubmit at Nature
Judicial Independence and Development: Evidence from Pakistan - Invited to Resubmit at Review of Economic Studies
Training Policymakers in Econometrics (with D. Chen and S. Naseer) - AEA RCT Registry - Submitted at Journal of Political Economy
Religious Leaders and Rule of Law (with A. Seror) - (SIOE Ronald Coase Medal) - Invited to Resubmit at Journal of Development Economics
Judicial Capture by Favor Exchange (with B. Ali) - Resubmitted
Rituals (with A. Seror)
RESEARCH IN PROGRESS
TRANSMITTING RIGHTS (with S. Naseer) - Preregistered Trial at AEA RCT Registry - Working Paper Coming Soon.
ARE JUDGES A JURY OF ONE? EVIDENCE FROM ABOLITION OF JURIES IN INDIA
TRAINING POLICYMAKERS IN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE - Preregistered Trial at AEA RCT Registry
RESHAPING BELIEFS ABOUT OURSELVES AND OTHERS: EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE FROM CIVIL SERVANTS IN PAKISTAN Preregistered Trial at AEA RCT Registry
EFFECT OF CASH, CELEBRITIES AND ROLE MODELS ON INTERGENERATIONAL TRANSMISSION OF VACCINE TAKE-UP - Preregistered Trial at AEA RCT Registry
MAN VERSUS MACHINE: EVIDENCE FROM INTRODUCTION OF AI IN PAKISTANI COURTS (with D. Chen)
JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE IN THE SHADOW OF TERRORISM: EVIDENCE FROM PAKISTAN'S ANTI-TERRORISM COURTS - Data Collection Completed
GOVERNMENT ADVERTISEMENTS AND MEDIA SELF-CENSORSHIP: EVIDENCE FROM A REGRESSION DISCONTINUITY DESIGN (with S. Asad) - Data Collection Completed
Pre-Doctoral Journal Articles and Book Chapters
Terrorism and the Macroeconomy: Evidence from Pakistan (Pre-Doctoral Research: Bachelor's Thesis)
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, offers an important setting to study impact of terrorism on the macroeconomy. Our estimates from a sample that covers over 4500 terrorist incidents and consequent 10, 200 deaths [from 1973 to 2010] imply that bouts of terrorist attacks led to both a short-run as well as medium-term adverse impact on key macroeconomic variables. It is estimated that cumulatively terrorism has cost Pakistan around 33.02 % of its real national income over the entire sample period and that terrorism costs Pakistan around 1 % of real GDP per capita growth every year. We find evidence consistent with the models that show that terrorism impacts the economy through a reallocation of resources from relatively more productive public spending to less productive defense spending.
Mehmood, S., 2014. Terrorism and the macroeconomy: Evidence from Pakistan. Defence and Peace Economics, 25(5), pp. 509-534.
The Political Economy of Foreign Aid and Growth: Theory and Evidence (Pre-Doctoral Research: Master's Thesis)
In this paper, we demonstrate that political incentives are key to understanding the effectiveness of foreign aid. We present a theory that formalizes how foreign aid impacts growth, leader turnover and public employment. We show that when political institutions are weak, foreign aid is misallocated. Nevertheless, foreign aid may also increase the dynamic efficiency of public policies, making the overall effect of aid on growth ambiguous. We present evidence consistent with the predictions of the model where foreign aid decreases leader turnover, increases misallocation - by increasing public employment - while it has a positive and significant effect on economic growth. The identification strategy we propose allows us to provide causal evidence for the predictions of the model. Our theory and evidence reconciles two strands of literature that grew apart in the recent decades, one demonstrating the positive effect of foreign aid on growth, the other emphasising the distortionary effects of foreign aid due to patronage, ethnic favoritism and corruption.
Social Inequality and the Dynamics of Political and Ethnolinguistic Divides in Pakistan, 1970-2018 - forthcoming Harvard University Press
This study documents the changing structure of Pakistan’s political cleavages by making use of a unique set of exit polls covering every direct election held in the country between 1970 and 2018. We analyze the evolution of Pakistan's party system, beginning with the initial economic “left-right” opposition between the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Muslim League. Regionalist, ethnolinguistic and religious divides have weakened and transformed this party system over the last half a century. The decline of the PPP has come with its transformation from a low-income mass-based party to an ethnic party confined to Sindhi speakers. We also analyze the recent rise of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the role played by the political unification of the economic, religious and military elites in its success. Finally, we discuss how the Islamization policies implemented under the military regime of Zia-ul-Haq (1977-1988) has contributed to weaken the development of a pro-redistribution secularist coalition.
In Political Cleavages, Party Systems and Social Inequalities: A study of Electoral Democracies 1948-2019. Edited by T. Piketty. Harvard University Press.
SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES
2021: PSE Applied Economics Seminar, CEPR Political Economy of Development Workshop, Econometric Society Annual Meeting 2021; SPSA 2021, APSA 2021, MPSA 2021, NBER Fall Development Meeting 2021, Winter Meeting of Econometric Society 2021.
2020: ETH Zurich Law and Economics Seminar, Aix-Marseille University Applied Breakfast, Society for Institutional & Organizational Economics (SIOE), Econometric Society's World Congress, Economic Development and Institutions Annual Conference, Bocconi CLEAN Seminar, EEA Annual Conference, Applied Lunch New Economic School.
2019: Association for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Culture (ASREC), Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), American Political Science Association (APSA), American Law and Economic Association (ALEA), Society for Institutional & Organizational Economics (SIOE).
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.
Political Economy of Development Spring 2021: New Economic School (masters course) - Syllabus
Law and Economics Spring 2021: New Economic School (masters course) - Syllabus
Empirical Public Economics Spring 2021: New Economic School (masters course) - Syllabus
Quantitative Methods Spring 2019: Sciences Po Graduate School (masters course)
Statistical Reasoning Fall 2019: Sciences Po Graduate School (masters course)