Working Papers

Droughts and Groundwater Extraction: Technology Adoption in Mitigating Climate Change (Job Market Paper)

Climate change has been increasing weather variability and affecting agriculture severely. To mitigate the variation in precipitation, especially drought, farmers are increasingly adopting groundwater irrigation technology by using wells. Not only the decision to adopt but also operating the new technology requires farmers to acquire information. Moreover, farmers need time to learn their marginal cost and marginal benefit of extracting water using the newly adopted technology. Exploring the role of experience in shaping farmers' decisions, we use two identification strategies to test the hypothesis that owners of new wells behave differently from owners of old wells in groundwater extraction. Employing panel data at district level in a fixed-effects model, we find that groundwater extraction rises as the growth rate in new wells increases. Our second strategy uses a difference-in-differences method, employing census data at the well level. We show that more water is extracted from new wells than older wells and that the difference in extraction increases in areas that experience a negative precipitation shock. We also provide evidence on the speed of learning about using technology. This study emphasizes the importance of learning in adopting new technology. The implication of our findings is that quantity instruments for regulating groundwater extraction fail to guarantee productive efficiency when farmers face uncertainty about their marginal abatement cost. This paper also provides new insights about the extent to which farmers adapt to climate change and the importance of considering the process of adapting to new technologies in climate change scenarios.

The Effects of Precipitation Shocks on Rural Labor Markets and Migration (Under review at World Development) [Link]

The welfare of both agrarian and non-agrarian workers in rural areas is highly affected by agricultural output volatility caused in part by weather shocks. This paper examines the impact of precipitation shocks on labor supply and out-migration in rural Iran. We use individual-level panel data combined with low-resolution gridded precipitation data at rural-agglomeration level to study the intensive and extensive margins of employment. Our results indicate different types of responses to positive and negative shocks. Using a fixed effects model, we find that individuals affected by negative shocks reduce their farm and off-farm hours of work, while those affected by positive shocks increase only off-farm hours. We observe heterogeneity in responses based on gender and the roles of individuals in the household. At the extensive margin, we find that negative shocks reduce the labor market participation of men. Our estimates for the probability of migration indicate that positive shocks reduce the probability of migration for low-educated young men. We show that labor-migration of young men is also affected by positive shocks, but the impact could be explained by the local unemployment rate, implying the labor market is a channel through which precipitation shocks affect migratory decisions.

Parents’ Investments in the Quality of Education: The Case of Ghana (R&R at Education Economics) [Link]

While school enrollment at the primary level has been rising in developing countries rapidly, international measures of education quality, especially in basic knowledge of reading and math, do not exhibit a parallel improvement. Since parents’ expenditure is an important determinant of children’s school performance, we investigate parents’ investments in the quality of child’s education, measured by their spending on books and other school materials. We develop an overlapping generations model, in which we consider families’ expenditure as an input to their children’s human capital. Moreover, in our model parents will use the current status of their children’s human capital as a screening measure for adjusting their investment, instead of the standard tradition of simply balancing the trade-off between future income and current stream of direct and indirect school costs. Using our theoretical analysis, our main hypothesis is that families consider better school performance to be a reliable predictor of future return, and this will incentivize them to invest more, considering other determinants of children’s schooling output, school quality for example. Empirically, we use an instrumental variables approach to test our main hypothesis, and it is accepted using data for Ghanaian primary school students in rural areas.

The School to Prison Pipeline: Where Can School Counselors Maximize their Impact? (Under review at Journal of Counseling & Development)

In the United States of America, the K-12 school to prison pipeline begins with school disciplinary incidents that result in suspensions, expulsions, and referrals to law enforcement. In this quantitative research study, we analyzed 230,988 disciplinary incidents in one state and found evidence that Black students are over-represented in disciplinary infractions and some of the related consequences. School counselors can advocate for these students by focusing change efforts at the problematic stages of the school to prison pipeline.

Work In Progress:

  • The Effect of Learning in Reducing the Cost of Climate Change: the Case of Fishery
  • Infrastructure, Local Labor Market, and Response to the Shocks
  • Education as a Comparative Advantage in Marriage Market
  • Gender Bias in SPOT Survey: Who Gets the Nice Words?
  • Integrating Archival Data Sets in Outcome Research