Court Efficiency and Firms: Evidence from District Courts in India

Type: Job Market Paper, 2019

This paper aims to study the causal relationship between court efficiency and firm level outcomes using newly available micro-data from district courts in India. We model court efficiency along a number of dimensions, including annual speed of resolution, trial duration, and plausible quality metrics including revisions and appeals. Next, we merge these measures with firm level outcomes including annual financials and production. To address the concerns of credible identification, we exploit plausible exogenous variations along two margins. First, we make use of deterministic rules that define the jurisdiction of a case and use this to study the causal effects of court efficiency on the outcomes of firms that are already litigating. Along the second margin, we exploit variation in judge occupancy - one of the main inputs into the court production function - arising out of a system of rotating transfers of judges across courts within a state, to study the effects on all firms that take into account the institutional quality in their decision making.

Recommended citation: Rao, Manaswini. (2019). "Court Efficiency and Firms: Evidence from District Courts in India." Job Market Paper. 1(3).

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.

Recommended citation: Gine, X, et al. (2019). "Assessing the Impact of Rehabilitating Small Scale Irrigation Reservoirs: A Study in Telangana." Working Paper. 1(2).

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.

Recommended citation: Gine, X, et al. (2019). "The Power of Agency: Evidence from India." Working Paper. 1(3).

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.

Recommended citation: Rao, Manaswini and Surendra, Vaishnavi. (2018). "Gender Wage Gap in Agricultural Labor Markets in Rural India." Working Paper. 1(3).

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.

Recommended citation: Rao, Manaswini. (2016). "Local Economic Development and the Political Economy of Village Councils in India." Working Paper. 1(3).