Posts by Collection



Local Economic Development and the Political Economy of Village Councils in India.

Type: Working Paper, 2016

We examine the effect of caste identity of village council leaders in India on the choice of local policies using the quasi-random assignment of the leaders’ position quota to specific caste groups within sub-districts. Overall, we find weak redistributive effects suggesting that choice of policies may only be a small component of the politician’s objective function even at the lowest tiers of the political structure.

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Gender Wage Gap in Agricultural Labor Markets in Rural India (joint with Vaishnavi Surendra)

Type: Working Paper, 2018

We explore the determinants of gender wage gap in the agricultural labor markets in India and examine the role of social norms in perpetuating it. We use multiple approaches to address these questions including analyzing secondary data from ICRISAT VDSA Panel, collecting primary data via surveys to elicit expectations and behavioral parameters to complement the former data source, and finally in a related project, investigate the role gender norms in influencing such behavior perpetuating the wage gap and other labor market outcomes through a lab-in-field experiment.

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The Power of Agency: Evidence from India (joint with Xavier Gine, Aprajit Mahajan, and Anup Malani)

Type: Work in Progress, 2019

Community-driven development (CDD) emphasizes a “bottom-up” approach focusing on community control over planning and implementation decisions to improve development outcomes. We propose to assess the value of community participation in choosing the location and implementation of local infrastructure projects by comparing a participatory “bottom-up” approach to the standard “top-down” planning and implementation where the community only plays a limited role. The context for the study is the construction of minor irrigation channels in the command area of small irrigation tanks in Telangana. The government has recently launched a program to rehabilitate the storage capacity of the tanks but has left the distribution of water from the tank to plots in the command area to the farmers. The research project thus varies the extent of community involvement over the choice and implementation of field channels and assesses its impact on irrigation resource allocation, agricultural outcomes, and continued maintenance.

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Assessing the Impact of Rehabilitating Small Scale Irrigation Reservoirs: A Study in Telangana (joint with Xavier Gine, Aprajit Mahajan and Anup Malani)

Type: Work in Progress, 2019

We evaluate the effects of rehabilitating local village level irrigation tanks on agricultural outcomes using a combination of observational and experimental approaches. Tank irrigation is a common (and climate friendly) mode of irrigation in Southern and Western India, which is based on impounding the surface run-off during rainy season for later use. However, since these are common pool resources, a lack of periodic upkeep had led to excessive silting and therefore, lowered capacity. Mission Kakatiya is a state-wide program in Telangana that aims to rehabilitate over 45000 tanks across the state in multiple phases. We make use of the staggered roll-out of earlier phases to study the impacts and understand the context of implementation in a differences-in-difference framework using a sample of 750 tanks. Further, we validate the findings using an experimental approach where we randomize the order of rehabilitation on a set of 92 tanks. Link to AEA Trial Registry.

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Court Efficiency and Firms: Evidence from District Courts in India

Type: Job Market Paper, 2019

This paper provides the first causal evidence of court productivity on firm production using novel data comprising of 6 million case records across 195 court districts in India over 9 years along two margins. First, I show that court productivity, measured as the rate of case resolution as a percentage of annual caseload, has an “institutional” effect on the overall business environment by reducing transaction cost frictions. Second, courts also have direct effects on firms engaged in litigation through the length of the litigation process itself, or what I term as the “opportunity” cost effect. For demonstrating the first set of effects as causal, I exploit plausible exogenous variation in judge occupancy, arising out of a system of rotating transfers of judges and increasing vacancy, to instrument for endogenous court productivity. To demonstrate the direct effects, I make use of deterministic rules that define the jurisdiction of a case, showing that they are orthogonal to the firms outcomes prior to case filing. Finally, I provide suggestive evidence showing that court productivity enhances the effectiveness of legal reforms. In other words, the effects of any welfare enhancing policy or legislative reforms are limited by low court productivity. Therefore, policy solutions centered around legislative changes to promote economic development should also focus on improving court productivity.

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University of California, Berkeley

Graduate Student Instructor, University of California, Berkeley

Courses TA-ed at UC Berkeley (Agricultural Resource Economics, and Econonomics Departments)