Professor Prakash UConn TedX Talk

Professor Nishith Prakash recently presented a UConn TedX talk on “Transforming Girls’ Lives with Bicycles’

His talk described his research, providing evidence which supports strategies for empowering women and addressing the gender gap in education.

For more information about this research, see ‘Wheels of Change: Transforming Girl’s Lives with Bicycles’ online at:

Professor Prakash at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative

Professor Nishith Prakash spoke at a recent symposium on “Social Innovations in Policy, Healthcare, and Work Organizations to Advance Gender Equality” at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI), an “innovative academic program designed to unleash the potential of experienced leaders to help solve society’s most pressing challenges.

Information about the Advanced Leadership Initiative may be found online at:


Professor Prakash Joins the PLOS ONE Editorial Board

Professor Nishith Prakash has been invited to join the editorial board of PLOS ONE 

PLOS ONE is an inclusive journal community working together to advance science for the benefit of society, now and in the future. Founded with the aim of accelerating the pace of scientific advancement and demonstrating its value, we believe all rigorous science needs to be published and discoverable, widely disseminated and freely accessible to all.

The research we publish is multidisciplinary and, often, interdisciplinary. PLOS ONE accepts research in over two hundred subject areas across science, engineering, medicine, and the related social sciences and humanities. We evaluate submitted manuscripts on the basis of methodological rigor and high ethical standards, regardless of perceived novelty.

Professor Prakash and Association for Mentoring & Inclusion in Economics in UConn Today

Professor Nishith Prakash and his work with the Association for Mentoring & Inclusion in Economics has been featured in the most recent UConn Today:

New Association Co-Founded By UConn Professor Looks to Diversify Economics

The field of economics, like many areas of academics and society, has struggled over time to bring a diverse range of people into the discipline.

To address some of these issues, a UConn professor has helped create a new organization with the goal of lessening gender, race, and socioeconomic-based gaps in economics through mentorship, resource provision, and the creation of a network focused on inclusion.

AMIE, the Association for Mentoring & Inclusion in Economics, was recently founded by Nishith Prakash, an associate professor of economics at UConn with a joint appointment in the school’s Human Rights Institute. The co-founder is Priya Mukherjee, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin.

The pair started informally working on this idea while they were both visiting scholars at Boston University’s Institute for Economic Development three years ago, and decided to formally launch AMIE this year.

Specific groups that are a focus of AMIE include underrepresented minorities, the LGBTQIA+ community, first-generation college students, women, and international students – both those studying in the United States and abroad.

The full article is online at:

New Association Co-Founded By UConn Professor Looks to Diversify Economics


Professor Prakash receives CLAS Summer Funding

Professor Nishith Prakash (Economics) and Professor Kim Chaney (Psychological Sciences) have received CLAS Summer Funding for their project entitled “Proposal: Can “Guilt” Change Police Attitude towards Gender-Based Violence?” with co-PIs Sofia Amaral (ifo Institute), Girija Borker (World Bank), and Asmi Khushi (IFMR).

The project aims to implement a field experiment with 500-700 police officers in India using confrontation of mis-handled gender-based violence (GBV) cases as an intervention to evoke guilt, and in turn promote more positive future responses to GBV crime. It ties together insights and expertise in causal inference and field experiments from development economics, with the study of countering discrimination and prejudice from social psychology.

Professor Prakash publishes in Journal of Economics Behavior & Organization

Professor Prakash publishes his paper on “Impact of Affirmative Action in Public Sector Employment on Lives of Disadvantaged Minorities in India” in Journal of Economics Behavior & Organization.

Title: The Impact of Employment Quotas on the Economic Lives of Disadvantaged Minorities in India

Abstract: India has the world’s biggest and arguably most aggressive employment-based affirmative action policy for minorities. This paper exploits the institutional features of a federally mandated employment quota policy to examine its causal impact on the economic lives of the two distinct minority groups (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes).

My main finding is that a 1-percentage point increase in the employment quota for Scheduled Castes increases the likelihood of obtaining a salaried job by 0.6-percentage points for male Scheduled Caste members residing in the rural sector. The employment quota policy has no impact for Scheduled Tribes. Contrary to popular notion, I do not find evidence of “elite-capture” among the Scheduled Castes — the impact is concentrated among members who have completed less than secondary education.

Consistent with the employment results, I find that the policy improved the well-being of Scheduled Castes members in rural areas who have completed less than secondary education. Finally, the impact of the employment quota policy varies by state characteristics.

UConn Researchers Awarded Grant to Study Domestic Violence and COVID-19

UConn’s Nishith Prakash and Lindsey Buck, along with coauthors Maria Micaela Sviatschi and Sofia Amaral were awarded a $76,000 grant from Princeton in order to study COVID-19’s implications on domestic violence.

Project Title: Macroeconomic Shocks and Domestic Violence: Evidence from COVID-19


Domestic violence (DV), defined as stalking, rape, or physical violence, is a global problem with 35% of women worldwide reporting experiencing DV (WHO 2017). In this project, our goal is twofold. First, we aim to look at COVID-19 – a large macroeconomic and health shock — on an important outcome from a welfare perspective: domestic violence (DV). DV is an important outcome to study because it has large financial and health implications; DV survivors suffer reductions in earnings and poor health (Aizer, 2011) and the CDC spends $5.8bn annually on health costs related to DV (St. Jude House). Second, we also aim to test two interventions that are likely to determine pathways to aid victims of DV during a pandemic: one consists of providing labor market opportunities for women and a second one on providing information on how to identify and respond in DV cases. We will sample 4000 women in the U.S. on the M-Turk platform and collect information on their financial, emotional, and relationship stress levels. Then, we provide two interventions. The first treatment will provide information on the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH), where trained advocates are available to talk confidentially and provide resources on DV. We will also provide the NDVH’s resources on healthy relationships, legal help, and conflict resolution. The second treatment will provide a cash transfer to women for completing tasks on M-Turk; in this way we will increase women’s labor market opportunities at home. Our results will shed light on two important questions: First, can information mitigate the effects of DV? Secondly, can labor market opportunities mitigate the effects on DV? Our goal is to look at the broad implications of COVID-19 on DV and illustrate policy opportunities to mitigate DV in the wake of an unprecedented macroeconomic shock.

More information on the project can be found here: and in a recent article in UConn Today:

How will COVID-19 Affect Domestic Violence?

Associate Professor of Economics Nishith Prakash and graduate student Lindsey Buck are part of a research group that was awarded a $76,000 grant from Princeton University to study COVID-19’s implications on domestic violence. They will test two interventions that are likely to determine pathways to aid victims of domestic violence during a pandemic: One consists of providing labor market opportunities for women, and a second one that provides information on how to identify and respond in domestic violence cases.


CLAS Faculty and Students Shifting Work to COVID-19

Early College Experience Economics Workshop

The Early College Experience Economics program ( held its annual workshop this fall for 30 Connecticut high school economics teachers who are teaching UConn’s Principles of Microeconomics (ECON 1201), Principles of Macroeconomics (ECON 1202) and/or Essentials of Economics (ECON 1000).

Early College Experience Workshop Presentation with Shor

Leading off the workshop was Professor Mike Shor, presenting “Patent Holdup” in which he explained the limits monopoly power conveyed by patents. The complementary relationships among patents and the price determination of purchasing or licensing of patents. He went on to explain the idea of the patent hold up.  He also provided the workshop participants with a classroom exercise in which students discover how patents are priced.

Early College Experience Workshop Presentation with Smirnova

There followed a presentation by Professor Natalia Smirnova, “Using Data in the Classroom: FRED database.” Professor Smirnova demonstrated several empirical uses of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank’s FRED database including both Macro and Micro economic examples.

Professor William Alpert presented a lunch time talk about the “Perils and Pitfalls of Prediction” highlighting the famine predictions of Paul Ehrlich for the 1980 (100’s of millions die) and the failed predictions of The Club of Rome from 1973. Professor Alpert also “predicted” the rise to more than 600 million in the number of horses in the United States if 18th Century trends had continued, assuming no alternative means of transportation.

Early College Experience Workshop Presentation with Alpert

Professor Steven Lanza then followed up with a presentation entitled “Rediscovering Lost Arts: Economic Index Numbers” in which he stressed the importance of index numbers and the biases in those numbers.  He also demonstrated how to calculate them using data that is easy to access and readily available.

Professor Nishith Prakash rendered the concluding presentation concerning a natural experiment concerning the harassment.  In India 79% of women living in cities have experienced harassment in public spaces.  Professor Prakash and his coauthors set out to determine the effect of street patrolling that targets harassment, on the type and frequency of incidents and women’s proactive responses.  They also are trying to determine the impacts of targeting perpetrators of harassment and what drives these changes — visibility, and/or quantity of a focused taskforce?

All of the presentations were well received and the workshop was among the most successful offered by the ECE Economics program.

Professor Prakash publishes in Feminist Economics

Nishith Prakash and co-author Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati are publishing their article “Girls for Sale? Child Sex Ratio and Girl Trafficking in India” in Feminist Economics, the journal of the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE)

From the abstract:

Illegal trafficking of girls results from their disadvantageous position in society, often reflected by preference for sons and neglect of daughters. India has both higher levels of illegal trafficking of girls and abnormal child sex ratios in favor of boys. This paper examines if the skewed sex ratio in India is associated with trafficking of girls. Using panel data from twenty-nine Indian states from 1980 to 2011, the study finds that a 100-unit increase in the child sex ratio is associated with a 0.635 percent increase in girl trafficking. Further, the association is heterogeneous by women’s empowerment, crime against women, and party rule in the state, and the association between the child sex ratio and trafficking of girls is stronger and larger in magnitude in states with greater women’s empowerment. Overall, it appears the results are driven both by greater reporting and a greater incidence of illegal girl trafficking.

Professor Prakash to be Published in the Journal of Development Economics

Professor Nishith Prakash’s paper “Do criminally accused politicians affect economic outcomes? Evidence from India” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Development Economics


We study the causal impact of electing criminally accused politicians to state legislative assemblies in India on the subsequent economic performance of their constituencies. Using data on the criminal background of candidates running in state assembly elections for the period 2004–2008 and a constituency-level measure of economic activity proxied by the intensity of night-time lights, we employ a regression discontinuity design and find that narrowly electing a criminally accused politician lowers the growth of the intensity of night-time lights by about 24 percentage points (approximately 2.4 percentage point lower GDP growth). The negative impact is more pronounced for legislators who are accused of serious or financial charges, have multiple accusations, are from a non-ruling party, have less than a college education, or have below median wealth. Overall, we find that the effect appears to be concentrated in the less developed and the more corrupt states. Similar findings emerge for the provision of public goods using data on India’s major rural roads construction program.

“Earlier politicians used criminals. Now the criminals themselves have entered politics” – (Associated Press, 2014).