Does Increased Credibility of Elections Lead to Higher Political Competition? Evidence from India, with Somdeep Chatterjee, Mehreen Mookerjee and Sanket Roy, European Journal of Political Economy, 2022, DOI:

Fertility targets: Linkages between desire for sons and sterilization in India, with Mehreen Mookerjee and Sanket Roy, Applied Economics, 2022, DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2022.2083069 

Hunger and Health: Reexamining the Impact of Household Food Insecurity on Child Malnutrition in India, with Gaurav Dhamija and Punarjit Roychowdhury, Journal of Development Studies, 2022, DOI:

Gender gap in schooling: Is there a role for health insurance?, Journal of International Development, 2021, DOI:

Who’s your neighbour? Social influences on domestic violence, with Mehreen Mookerjee and Sanket Roy, Journal of Development Studies, 2021 DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2021.1969012. (Supplementary Material)

Do Online Courses Provide an Equal Educational Value Compared to In-Person Classroom Teaching? Evidence from US Survey Data using Quantile Regression, with Mohammad Arshad Rahman, Education Policy Analysis Archives, 2021, Vol. 29, No. 85, 1-25

Spousal beliefs and intimate partner violence: Are we conditioned to internalize patriarchal norms? with Mehreen Mookerjee and Sanket Roy, Economics Letters, 2021, 202, 109811

Working papers:

Power to choose? Examining the link between contraceptive use and domestic violence, with Karan Babbar

Contraceptive usage is a crucial tool that empowers women to control their bodily autonomy and reproductive outcomes. At the same time, violence against women remains a pressing pubIic health issue worldwide depleting women’s autonomy. In this paper, we establish a causal link between the decision to use contraceptives and the occurrence of intimate partner violence. We use a nationally representative survey data from the fifth wave of the National Family Health Surveys of India for 2019-21 to estimate our causal effects. We utilize an instrumental variable approach to address potential endogeneity in the decision to use contraceptives. Using exogenous variation in exposure to family planning messages via radio as an instrument, we show that if the decision to use contraceptives is solely the woman’s, she is at a significantly higher risk of IPV. Our results point to greater likelihood of physical, sexual as well as emotional domestic violence as a result of woman’s decision to use contraceptives. Our  findings suggest that sexual and reproductive health focus in women empowerment initiatives may be important in reducing IPV. In addition, the results also call for expansion of government programs aimed at improving men’s understanding of the use of contraceptives and family planning given the interesting results we note for households with employed husbands.

In Good Times and Bad: Low-cost Mobile teaching during a Pandemic, with Kartik Yadav

In view of school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this paper examines how a Home-Based Learning program affects learning outcomes of children in low resource communities. To overcome limited internet connectivity, the program provided remote instructions via phone calls and simple text messages along with automated voice calls to engage children enrolled in grades one to five in activity-based learning content. This intervention was conducted in three districts of the state of Odisha in India. Using a difference-in-differences framework, we find that the intervention leads to a statistically significant improvement in mathematics and language learning levels of children. Our results indicate that well-designed low cost interventions could be a useful supplement for continued learning in the face of sudden shocks in low income countries. With the potential rise of hybrid formats of teaching-learning owing to the pandemic, such interventions have the capability to cushion the decline in learning levels and provide a safety net in the event of school closures.     

Spillover effects of family planning: Impact of contraceptive use on child malnutrition, with Mehreen Mookerjee and Sanket Roy

We use nationally representative data from the fourth wave of the National Family Health Survey of India on women and their children aged below 5 years to evaluate the impact of contraceptive use on child health outcomes. Using exogenous variation in a woman’s knowledge of her fertile period as an instrument, we estimate that the use of contraception leads to a 1.01 SD and 0.54 SD increase in a child’s height-for-age and weight-for-age z-scores respectively. Our results also indicate that contraceptive use can reduce the likelihood of a child being moderately (acutely) stunted by 8.4 pp (19 pp) and moderately (acutely) underweight by 6.9 pp (7.7 pp) respectively. We find evidence that contraception use increases the probability of a child being fed a more diverse diet which points to a potential mechanism through which our findings perpetrate. Our results indicate that a greater focus on the access to (and use of) contraceptive measures can lead to sizeable bene ts in terms of child health apart from population stabilization.

The effect of quality of education on crime: Evidence from Colombia, with Andres F. Giraldo Palomino

This paper evaluates the impact of quality of education on violence and crime using student performances on a mandatory examination as the measure of quality. The paper exploits transfers of funds from central government to municipalities for investments in education as a source of exogenous variation and finds that better education quality has a negative impact on economic crimes such as kidnapping rates, rate of theft on persons and presence of illegal armed groups. The findings are consistent with an opportunity cost effect of education, that is, high quality education increases expectations of being absorbed by the labor market and discourages engaging in criminal activities. Results also point to perhaps a pacifying effect of education such that improvement of education quality generates less violent environments, promotes social and political stability. The results are found to be robust to a number of econometric concerns and different measures of quality of education.

Work in Progress

“Women’s ownership and access: Effects on intra-household decisions”, with Mehreen Mookerjee

“Degrees of Inequality: Why are there fewer women in undergraduate economics?”, with Priyanka Chakraborty

Intra-household consumption decisions: Evidence from NREGA