I am interested in policy-oriented research grounded in strong theory and complemented with extensive empirical evidence.
My current research focuses on examining the implications of care work for care providers' employment and time-use outcomes, macroeconomic growth, and human development through a gendered lens.
The geographic focus of my research has been the U.S., Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
I use several empirical techniques including instrumental variables, randomized control trials, principal component analysis, and difference-in-differences.
I am interested in extending my research on development-related topics and including intersectional inequalities across gender, class, race, caste, sexual orientation, and nationalities.
Unpaid Care and Capabilities Deprivation
Paper title: Why Care for the Care Economy: Empirical Evidence from Nepal
Motivated by Amartya K. Sen’s Capability Approach (CA), I develop three conceptual frameworks that delineate contemporaneous and compounding effects of undertaking unpaid care work for care providers and its wider intergenerational and macroeconomic effects. I develop a micro-macro linkage to show how the excess burden of unpaid care work adversely affects care providers' well-being by limiting their employment, education, and health capabilities, thereby affecting the macroeconomic development of an economy. The paper is based on applied economic research and uses a causal estimation technique. Using Nepal's time-use survey data and an instrumental variables analysis, I provide empirical evidence for the contemporaneous and adverse gender-differentiated effects of time devoted to caregiving on the employment capability of individuals. I find that due to caregiving women and men experience commensurate declines in their weekly employment hours, whereas the likelihood of employment declines only for women. This research has important policy implications regarding the negative effects of care burden on individual well-being and its broader development outcomes for Nepal. It draws the attention of policymakers to the need for greater public investment in care infrastructure and services along with community-based initiatives.
Social Reproduction, Gender Inequality, and Growth
Paper title: The Road to Gender-Equitable Growth: A State-Level Analysis of Social Reproduction in the United States
Based on a structuralist macroeconomic growth model, I investigate how labor market gender equality (LMGE) interacts with social reproduction (SR) or care activities to affect economic growth in the United States (U.S). Using principal component analysis (PCA) I construct two composite scores to capture the distribution of SR among households, state, and the market sectors on the supply side and the caring tendency to invest in human capacities on the demand side for each state in the U.S, between 2003-2017. I use combination of these scores to classify states into one of the four stylized regimes - mutual, time squeeze, exploitative, and wage squeeze. Further, using fixed-effects estimation, I examine how LMGE is associated with states’ per-capita growth rates in different regimes. The analysis help identifies states that perform poorly in terms of SR and forms the basis for informing state-specific policy decisions regarding social spending, parental leave laws, workplace policies, and gender equality in education, health, and the labor market. The study contributes new empirical evidence to the sparse scholarship on the interlinkages between LMGE, SR, and economic growth.
Gendered Analysis of Time-Use and Women Empowerment based on fieldwork in India
I am currently developing three research papers based on a fieldwork project for which I was awarded a grant from Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) in May 2022. I conducted a baseline time-use and socio-economic survey of households in Uttar Pradesh, India from July to August 2022. Research papers based on this fieldwork are-
Gendered Impact of Unpaid Care on Time Allocation: Evidence from Primary Survey in India
Examine the causal impact of unpaid care work on time allocated to paid work, personal care/rest, domestic chores, and leisure, by men and women in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Impact of Gender Norms on Gender Inequality in Time Allocation of Couples: Evidence from Primary Survey in India
Examine the impact of gender norms (captured by a composite score) on gender inequality in time spent on paid work, household work, leisure, and personal care.
Gendered Impact of COVID-19-lockdown on Time-Allocation Patterns of Households in India
Examine the short-and medium-term impact of a macro-level shcok- Covid-19-induced lockdown on time allocation of men and women.
Impact of Couple Counselling on Time-Use and Socio-Economic Well-being of Couples: Empirical Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in India
This is an extension of the fieldwork project, to examine the causal impact of an intervention in the form of couple counseling on time-use patterns of men and women, women's socio-economic empowerment, gender norms affecting paid and unpaid work of couples, and the overall well-being of couples and children.
The baseline survey has been completed in August 2022. The intervention will take place between October 2022 and December 2022, followed by an end-line survey in January 2023. The research is funded by a grant awarded from Asian Development Bank Institute.
Human Capability Implications of Public Space Sexual Harassment: Evidence using Primary Survey Data from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan
I am working on a joint project of the Department of Economics and the Department of Public Health at the University of Utah, for which we received a seed grant in 2020 to examine the economic and health consequences of public-space sexual harassment of women in the Global South. We implement two surveys to capture - i) women's experiences and consequences of harassment and ii) men's perceptions of street harassment of women, customized to country-specific socio-economic arrangements. We are currently producing research papers based on survey results in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
In the first paper, we examine the impact of public space sexual harassment on women’s capabilities in terms of being able to lead lives free of violence, to seek educational opportunities, to earn a living, to support family livelihoods, and to be physically mobile.
In the second paper using male survey data, we examine male perceptions of and responses to public space sexual harassment. Through this study, we want to highlight the importance of interventions around perpetrators which in this case are men to reduce sexual harassment against women.
Determinants of Unpaid Domestic Chores
Paper Title: Factors Influencing Unpaid Domestic Work: Empirical Evidence from India.
In this study, we examine the potential factors that affect the time spent on domestic chores by men and women in India using data from the first national level India Time Use Survey 2019. Findings substantiate a statistically significant gender gap in sharing domestic chores and the gap vary in magnitude across socio-economic and demographic factors and in the use of technology and access to consumer durables within households. Based on the findings, we make policy recommendations at four levels, namely household, society, state, and the market, to reduce the burden of domestic chores and reorganize it at two levels - between men and women and among household, state, and the market.