Verghese Kurien Policy Lab

Work in Progress

Building resilience through Women’s Bargaining Power during the Pandemic (Vivek Pandey, Hari K. Nagarajan, Harpreet Singh, and Deepak Kumar)

Abstract: Can increased women’s relative bargaining power within households improve household-level resilience to large scale covariate shocks such as COVID-19? Evidence suggests that enabling women to access market-linked-value-chains significantly increases their relative bargaining power within households. In this paper we estimate the extent to which a given stock of market enabled relative bargaining power of women (as measured in a laboratory experiment few months before the rollout of COVID-19) can enhance the resilience of rural households to COVID-19 shock. We make use of a unique data-generating process that combines data from two rounds of household surveys with the data from a laboratory experiment conducted with spouses inside rural dairy households. Evidence from the Bartik-like instrumental variable specification show that a unit improvement in women’s bargaining power led to 3.82% reduction in the vulnerability of households to food poverty during COVID-19 lockdown. The paper also models the role of food and nutrition decisions as pathways to reducing household vulnerability to food poverty during the pandemic.

Abstract: Public infrastructure projects are introduced by the government to help citizens benefit from increased economic activity and value creation. Canal placements create a network of water resources that sprung from dams and is also one of the major public projects that lead to substantial increase in farmers’ welfare and gross cultivated area. Given the constraint of geographical parameters, how does the government decide on the placement of canals in villages? We investigate if election outcomes prior to such placements are predictive of the location of canal placements after controlling for all geographical variables. Using decision tree, double ML IV, and a theoretical model, we investigate the data obtained from 224 villages of Gujarat under the command area of the canal, constituting 32 constituencies. We find that the political party at the village level takes into account the public project placement in their election-winning strategies.

Preliminary Abstract: The paper aims to understand embeddedness of farmers with the FPOs through the lens of joint dependency structure in economic value creation. We conduct analyses in an exploratory fashion to detect heterogeneous subgroups with varied characteristics and explain respective embeddedness using machine learning approaches.

Abstract: A great deal of work argues that the entry of women into public spaces can promote political and institutional change. The current pandemic provides an opportunity to investigate whether and under what conditions women’s political representation in rural local governments deliver effective local governance? Drawing from two rounds of data collected in 174 local governments and 1051 households in three Indian states, the paper shows that women Pradhans in the Gram Panchayats have no differential impact on the governance response to COVID-19 compared to the unreserved ones. Analyzing the heterogeneity in these responses suggests that institutional factors like the proportion of women in village council and local entrepreneurship diversity can enhance women Pradhan’s capacity to respond to the pandemic. We explore two channels that enable women Pradhan to govern effectively during the pandemic: improving women’s participation in the labor force and reducing household’s vulnerability to poverty in the pre-COVID period.

Abstract: This paper estimates the impact of SRI adoption on household choices and child stunting and malnutrition using duration of adoption induced structural breaks (discontinuities). RDD estimates show that relatively early adopters among the group of late technology adopters are 9.33% more likely to choose private health care providers. Results from the dose response functions suggest that there is no change in the preference for public health care providers among the late adopters while early adopters have increased their likelihood of choosing public health providers by 4.70%. While the incidence of stunting declined by  for the children of late adopters and  for early adopters, malnutrition did not change for children of late adopters. Instead, it declined only for early adopters by . Our findings show that the duration of use of a new agricultural technology matter and not accounting for such duration effects can significantly underestimate the potential of adoption of technologies on household welfare.