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’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: https://www.eeassoc.org/index.php?site=JEEA&page=298&trsz=299 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
The Early College Experience Economics program (https://ece.uconn.edu/) 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).
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.
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.
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.
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 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).
Professor Nishith Prakash has received an appointment as a fellow with the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at Harvard Kennedy School.
The Women and Public Policy Program of Harvard Kennedy School closes gender gaps in economic opportunity, political participation, health and education by creating knowledge, training leaders, and informing public policy and organizational practices.
Our research provides evidence-based insights on the role of gender in shaping economic, political, and social opportunities available to individuals. We identify successful interventions and measure their impact on women, men, and society, then share recommendations on what policies, organizational practices, and leadership techniques help close involuntary gaps.
We train today’s leaders and prepare future leaders to create a more gender equal world, while providing women with skills and tools to successfully navigate existing systems. We draw on Harvard University’s unparalleled faculty expertise and its global reach to impact the thinking of those who make decisions across sectors.
No other organization in the world builds on behavioral insights to create evidence-based organizational designs that can promote women’s empowerment, overcome gender bias, and provide equal opportunities for women and men, like the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School. And no other entity provides assistance to organizations with the goal of consulting, learning and teaching at the same time, benefiting from the talent pool of Harvard faculty, students and fellows.
Professor Nishith Prakash has received the “World Bank Economic Review Excellence in Refereeing Award”, recognizing his service to the journal World Bank Economic Review.
About the Journal
The mission of The World Bank Economic Review is to encourage and support research in the field of development economics. We seek to publish and disseminate innovative theoretical and empirical research that identifies, analyzes, measures, and evaluates the macro and micro-economic forces that promote or impede economic development with a view towards providing the knowledge necessary for designing, implementing, and sustaining effective development policies in low and middle income countries. Our intended audience comprises a worldwide readership of economists and other social scientists in government, business, international agencies, universities, and research institutions.
The Economics Department Early College Experience Program held its annual workshop for teachers on November 1 at the Storrs Campus. The workshop was attended by 25 teachers from high schools across the state who hold the positions of instructor and preceptor of economics responsible for teaching high school students Principles of Microeconomics (Economics 1201), Principles of Macroeconomics (Economics 1202) and Essentials of Economics (Economics 1000) in their high school.
The teachers who attended, learned from a program they inspired by suggesting topics in the spring of 2018. Highlights of this year’s program included Professor Nishith Prakash presenting his work entitled “Gender, Crime and Punishment”, which provided a peek at original economics research. The teachers were excited by this work and raised numerous questions.
Professor Prakash’s paper was followed by a presentation by Professor Natalia Smirnova (a UConn Economics Ph.D.) entitled “Oligarchs and Ivans: A Changing Russian Economy 1990-2020” in which Professor Smirnova provided both background and predictions for the modern Russian Economy including a look forward.
Professor Oskar R. Harmon, who is doing research and teaching about sports economics, presented an exciting session entitled “Sports Economics and Principals of Economics” over lunch. Professor Harmon was followed on the program by Mr. Paul Conant explaining the Kyoto Treaty to the teachers in a session titled “Kyoto and Beyond.”
ECE Economics Coordinator and Emeritus Professor of Economics Bill Alpert capped off the day with his discussion “Income Distribution: What’s the Matter?”
After continuing discussion the workshop was adjourned.
Professor Prakash’s recent work on crime against women and all women police stations in India has been in the news. Most recently, Indian Express, a leading newspaper in India, interviewed him to discuss the economic effects of violence against women in a podcast prepared for United Nation, India.
He also presented his latest work (joint with Sofia Amaral (ifo Institute) and Sonia Bhalotra (Essex)) “Gender, Crime and Punishment: Evidence from Women Police Stations in India” at the Urban Economics Association Conference at Columbia University and the North East Universities Development Consortium Conference at Cornell University in October, 2018. In this paper, the authors find that the presence of All Women Police Stations in India leads to more reporting of violence against women crime, in particular, female kidnappings and domestic violence. The study finds modest impact on the measures of police deterrence such as arrests.
The American Economic Association has posted an interview with Karthik Muralidharan on “Cycling to School: Increasing Secondary School Enrollment for Girls in India“, the paper that he and Professor Nishith Prakash have published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.
The interview is online at
Biking to a better future
An interview with Karthik Muralidharan about closing the education gender gap in India
Professor Prakash is following up on this work with his new project, ‘Wheels of Change: Impact of Cycles on Female Education and Empowerment in Zambia’. For more information, see Professor Prakash Studies the Impact of Bicycles on Female Education and Empowerment in Zambia