Select Work in Progress 

Conditional Cash Transfers and Gender Based Violence – Does Type of Violence Matter? (with Ervin Dervisevic and Elizaveta Perova)

The relationship between intimate partner violence (IPV) and cash transfer programs has been extensively researched, with a consensus that cash transfers are most likely to reduce IPV. This study examines the effects of a conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in the Philippines on other types of gender-based violence (GBV), beyond IPV, i.e., domestic violence by non-partner (such as husband's relatives) and violence outside home, using a cluster-randomized control trial design. While we find no significant change in IPV or violence outside of home, we find a measurable decline in non-partner domestic violence. We also examine mediating channels through which CCTs may affect GBV, proposed in earlier literature, namely (i) stress reduction, (ii) increase in women’s empowerment, (iii) increase in women's bargaining power, and (iv) strengthening of social networks and find suggestive evidence of changes in all four mitigating channels. These evidences confirm the potential of CCT programs to mitigate GBV, but indicate that depending on the context, additional interventions may be needed to address specific types of GBV. 

Shocks, Women, and Marriage Markets (with Nivedhitha Subramanian)

Marriage is arguably the most important economic decision in a woman’s life, especially in low and middle income countries and among societies rooted in patriarchy. In this research, we investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on marriage markets. We study this question in the Indian context via constructing a high-frequency, high-volume dataset – a repository of over 200,000 matrimonial advertisements - and test predictions on whether and how exogenous variation in the marital search process - triggered by the outbreak of COVID-19 - could impact (i) size and composition of the marriage market, (ii) stated marital preferences and subsequent matching, and (iii) post-marriage outcomes such as fertility, labor force participation, earnings, decision-making and agency. 

Harnessing the Demographic Dividend in Mozambique (with Joao Montalvao)

There is promising evidence on the role of safe-spaces programs in empowering adolescent girls. However, most programs almost exclusively focus on targeting girls (alone) and there is little evidence on the impact of also engaging girls’ parents. This is seemingly important as parents are key stakeholders and primary decision-makers in girls' lives, especially during adolescence. Further, there is limited causal evidence on whether such safe-spaces are effective in empowering girls who are outside the formal schooling system; notably, most programs usually target in-school girls. This study seeks to close both these evidence gaps. Using a cluster-randomized controlled trial, we estimate the impact of a novel program in Mozambique, which targets out-of-school adolescent girls (aged 10-14 years old) through a “safe-space” intervention as well as their parents (or guardians) though a “school-of-parents” intervention. Specifically, we will test the impacts of each intervention, alone and together, on girls’ sexual and reproductive (SRH) health, knowledge, and behaviors; schooling and employment; marriage and childbearing; psychosocial wellbeing; gender attitudes; and risk and exposure to violence.