Brief bio: I am a Ph.D. candidate at Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR), Mumbai, India. My research interests include Health Economics, Development Economics, Applied Econometrics, Risk and Insurance, and Health and Nutrition.
- Chapter 1: Coping with the consequences of short-term illness shocks: The role of intra-household labor substitution; Abstract: In developing countries where medical infrastructure, service delivery systems, and the markets for health insurance are underdeveloped, one important mechanism to cope with the consequences of health shocks is the intra-household substitution of labor. This paper studies the impact of short-term illness shocks on labor supply and wage earnings of prime-aged individuals using data from agricultural households in India. It also documents the compensating intra-household labor supply responses of other non-ill members of the household. We find that an illness shock reduces an individual's monthly wage earnings by 7.1% via the decline in the individual's days of employment in the labor market. Further, an illness shock to the household head causes a compensating increase in the wage labor supply of the wife. An illness shock to the wife, however, induces the household head to devote more time to domestic activities. The compensating labor supply responses are only partially able to insure the loss in total wage income of the household. Our results indicate that the gender-based specialization of labor weakens in the event of an illness shock.
- Chapter 2: Smoothing Consumption in Times of Sickness: Households Recourse Mechanisms ; Abstract: In this paper, we study the welfare impacts of short-term illness shocks on rural producer-consumer households residing in the Semi-Arid Tropic regions of India. These regions are characterized by missing markets for credit, risk and insurance and have limited access to publicly funded healthcare infrastructure. We find that illness shocks are seasonal and short-lived and lead to a significant increase in the total per-capita monthly consumption expenditure. This increase in per capita expenditure is driven by the illness-induced increase in medical expenditures. However, households non-medical, food and non-food consumption expenditures are insensitive to illness shocks. Upon dis-aggregation of non-food expenditures, we find that there is a significant increase in illness-induced travel expenditures to seek healthcare and a corresponding decline in expenditure on education and entertainment. Finally, we find some evidence that illness shocks also changes the household dietary diversity and are associated with an increase in the amount of gifts and transfers from other non-cohabitant family members and borrowings from informal sources in order to cope with increased medical expenses.
- Chapter 3: Demand- and Supply- Side Incentivization and Child Health Outcomes: Evidence from India; Abstract: Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs are increasingly gaining importance as a policy option to achieve desirable health outcomes. Janani Suraksha Yojana (Safe Motherhood program), one of the world's largest CCT was announced by the Government of India in 2005. Apart from demand side cash-incentivization, supply side nudges in the form of deployment of community health workers (ASHAs) were provided to encourage and assist the expectant mothers in seeking prenatal, delivery and postnatal care assistance. The existing evidence on the impact of the program on child survival outcomes, the key aim of the program, is insufficient, mixed and involves identification concerns. Using a retrospective panel on birth histories of children for more than 35000 mothers from the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) of India, I identify the Intent-To-Treat (ITT) effects of the program on the child survival outcomes by employing a difference-in-differences identification strategy combined with mother fixed effects. Consistent with the structure and timing of cash incentives, I find significant improvements in infant survival outcomes, primarily in the neonatal period. The effect, however, is restricted only in areas where the cash incentives to both the expectant mothers and ASHAs were high. The results highlight complementarities between supply side nudges and demand side incentivization.
- Best paper award at IMR Doctoral Conference 2023, IIM-Bangalore