Job Market Paper

Information, Heterogeneous Updating & Higher Education Decisions: Experimental Evidence from India [pdf] [ETRM blog]

I randomize information on population earnings to a sample of 12th grade students, drawn from schools affiliated with a large public state university in India, who at the time were six months away from making a decision regarding college attendance and college track (technical, academic, vocational) conditional on attendance. Upon the receipt of potentially new information, students revise beliefs regarding own-wages in the direction of the information, though the average extent of updating is small and masks substantial sub-group heterogeneity. Additionally, subsequent changes in enrollment intentions and intentions to borrow for higher education are in line with both the extent and direction of wage belief updating. A portion of the heterogeneity in wage belief updating can be explained by initial misperceptions regarding population earnings, and baseline relevance of earnings to enrollment intentions. Yet a substantial portion remains unexplained, consistent with substantial heterogeneity in updating heuristics, at the individual level. From a policy standpoint, these findings point to the limited capacity of information campaigns based on population-level aggregates to induce, on average, large changes in individual priors and help to rationalize a number of recent papers that find heterogeneous impacts of information provision on education outcomes.

Other Working Papers

Determinants of Maternal Nutrition Outcomes in India: Empirical Evidence on the Role of Agriculture (with Prabhu Pingali). Third Prize for 2016 George F. Warren Award for Outstanding Research[pdf]

The Impact of a Community Health-Worker Program on Childhood Immunization: Evidence from India’s ASHA Workers. [SSRN Working Paper] [Ideas For India Blog]

Book Chapters & Policy Reports

Understanding the Multidimensional Nature of the Malnutrition Problem in India (with Prabhu Pingali). Forthcoming in Prabhu Pingali & Gershon Feder (2017). “Agriculture & Rural development in a Globalizing World – Challenges and Opportunities”, Routledge Press. [pdf].

Oil Prices & East African Food Security: Understanding the Links and Effects on Households (with Channing Arndt, Christopher Barrett and Others). A Technical Report submitted to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. [pdf].

Work in Progress

“Explaining inequality among married couples in India: Evidence from Nationally Representive Data” (with Payal Seth)

“Cross-Cutting Determinants of Child & Adult Anthropometrics across India & Sub-Saharan Africa: A Narrative Synthesis” (with Prabhu Pingali, Patrick Webb & Djeinam Toure)

“Using BMI Z-scores to Measure Intra-Household Disparity” (with Leah Bevis & Felix Naschold)