Working papers

Labor Market Effects of Food Transfers : Evidence from India’s Public Distribution System (with Ben Crost and Kathy Baylis)

[Latest Draft]

Food transfers are increasingly common in the developing world, but their labor market effects are not well understood. We estimate the labor supply and wage effects of a large increase in food transfers in India, brought about by the National Food Security Act of 2013. We find that larger transfers led to lower labor supply and higher wages, with particularly strong effects in years with negative productivity shocks. Our results imply that the labor market effects of food transfers produce important additional benefits for the poor.

Risk pooling and precuationary savings in village economies (with Marcel Fafchamps)

[NBER Working paper]

Abstract: We propose a new method to test for efficient risk pooling that allows for intertemporal smoothing, non-homothetic consumption, and heterogeneous risk and time preferences. The method is composed of three steps. The first one allows for precautionary savings by the aggregate risk pooling group. The second utilizes the inverse Engel curve to estimate good- specific tests for efficient risk pooling. In the third step, we obtain consistent estimates of households' risk and time preferences using a full risk sharing model, and incorporate heterogeneous preferences in testing for risk pooling. We apply this method to panel data from Indian villages to generate a number of new insights. We find that food expenditures are better protected from aggregate shocks than non-food consumption, after accounting for non- homotheticity. Village-level consumption tracks aggregate village cash-in-hand, suggesting some form of coordinated precautionary savings. But there is considerable excess sensitivity to aggregate income, indicating a lack of full asset integration. We also find a large unexplained gap between the variation in measured consumption expenditures and cash-in-hand at the aggregate village level. Contrary to earlier findings, risk pooling in Indian villages no longer appears to take place more at the sub-caste level than at the village level.


The importance of wage loss in the financial burden of illness: Longitudinal evidence from India (with Suhani Jalota, Aprajit Mahajan and Grant Miller), Social Science and Medicine (Jan 2023)

Testing Efficient Risk Sharing with Heterogeneous Risk Preferences: Comment (with Marcel Fafchamps), American Economic Review (Oct 2018): Vol. 108. No. 10.

Price Transmission, Asymmetric Adjustment and Threshold Effects in the Cotton Supply Chain: A Case Study for Vidarbha, India (with Miguel Gómez), Agricultural Economics (May 2016). Vol 47. Issue 4.

Farm Production Diversity is Associated with Greater Household Dietary Diversity in Malawi: Findings from Nationally Representative Data (with Andrew Jones and Rachel Bezner-Kerr), Food Policy (June 2014) Vol 46.