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THE SEEN AND THE UNSEEN: IMPACT OF A CONDITIONAL CASH TRANSFER PROGRAM ON PRENATAL SEX SELECTION (with Sayli Javadekar)
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Kritika Saxena

Ph.D. Candidate in Development Economics

 

I am a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Development Economics at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, working under the supervision of Professor Lore Vandewalle.

My areas of interest are Policy Evaluation, Gender, and Conflict. Prior to starting my doctoral studies, I worked for policy and research organizations like JPAL, World Bank and WIPO

 
RESEARCH
Working Papers

How is the prenatal sex selective behaviour influenced by the presence of cheap fetal gender identification technology and financial incentives? We study this question by analysing a conditional cash transfer program called Janani Suraksha Yojna (JSY) implemented in India. By providing access to prenatal sex detection technology like the ultrasound scans and simultaneously providing cash incentives to both households and community health workers for every live birth, this program altered existing trends in prenatal sex selection. Using the difference-in-difference and the triple difference estimator we find that JSY led to an increase in female births by 4.8 and 12.7 percentage points respectively. Additionally, the likelihood of under 5 mortality for girls born at a higher birth order increased by around 6 percentage points. Our calculations show that this resulted in nearly 300,000 more girls surviving in treatment households between 2006 and 2015. We find that the role played by community health workers in facilitating this program is a key driver of decreasing the prenatal sex selection.

SOCIAL PROTESTS IN TIMES OF SOCIAL DISTANCING: BLACK LIVES MATTER AND COVID-19 (with Vladimir Avetian, Annalí Casanueva Artís, and Sulin Sardoschau)

Why did the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement gain unprecedented momentum in the midst of a pandemic? In this paper, we use county-day-level variation in the timing and magnitude of exposure to COVID-19 to causally identify its effect on protests. Using super spreader events as a source of plausibly exogenous variation, we find that counties that are more affected by the pandemic also experience an increase in protest behavior. We present several alternative identification strategies and a battery of robustness checks to confirm the validity of our results. We distinguish empirically between various mechanisms: availability of resources, opportunity costs of protesting, the salience of racial inequality, and increased signaling value of protest. Our evidence suggests that the pandemic has mobilized new allies that join the movement for the first time during the pandemic. We can attribute this to a rise in the salience of racial inequalities in the United States. At the same time, counties that traditionally engaged in protest (urban counties with a large Black population shares) respond less to an increase in COVID-19 exposure as they are also the ones most severely affected by the pandemic and caught in what we call the "protest poverty trap".

ROLE OF FINANCIAL DEVELOPMENT FOR FINANCING ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES: CROSS COUNTRY EVIDENCE

This paper studies the role of financial development on environmental technologies. Most of the literature on financial development has studied its role in promoting economic growth and less attention has been paid on studying its effect on technological innovation in general and environmental technological innovation in particular. One of the main contributions of this paper is to fill this research gap in estimating the relationship between financial development and environmental technology development with a comprehensive measure of environmental technology that is not limited to one or two narrowly defined environmental technology fields. The development of environmental technologies is measured using data on environmental technology patents from over 80 environmental technology fields classified in PATSTAT. The analysis is done on panel data from 38 countries from the year 2000 till 2009, using GMM estimation for dynamic count data models.  The results indicate a positive and significant relationship between financial institution development and environmental technology development in a country. It also finds that unlike institutions, financial markets tend to substitute funding away from environmental technologies to more profitable general technologies.

Ongoing Projects
ONE TOO MANY: CONFLICT AND POLYGYNY IN AFRICA (with Seoni Han)

This paper studies the effect of longterm exposure to conflict on polygyny in Africa. Literature shows that historical events and their subsequent demographic shocks persist and impact culture and gender norms. This paper studies the impact of one such historical event, the colonial border design in Africa that led to ethnic partitioning and increased the exposure to conflict among ethnic groups divided between two or more countries. We use geo-coded data on conflicts and polygynous status of households in Africa to uncover the relationship between conflict and polygyny. Our preliminary results show that increased exposure to conflict resulting from ethnic partitioning has had a profound implication on the practice of polygyny in these ethnicities.

THE SHORT-TERM EFFECTS OF THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN ON RURAL COMMUNITIES IN INDIA, (with Ashwini Deshpande, Joshua Merfeld, and Lore Vandewalle)

We collected data from SHG members, local government officials, and health workers to better understand policy implementation and coordination issues during the pandemic in 2020. This study is funded by the International Growth Center (IGC)

MIGRATION: POLICY REFORMS AND COORDINATION (with Rémi Viné)
Contribution to Policy Research

Contributions to The Global Innovation Index co-produced by Cornell University, INSEAD, and WIPO

GLOBAL INNOVATION INDEX 2018: ENERGIZING THE WORLD WITH INNOVATION
GLOBAL INNOVATION INDEX 2017: INNOVATION FEEDING THE WORLD
GLOBAL INNOVATION INDEX 2016: WINNING WITH GLOBAL INNOVATION

Contributions to World Bank policy reports

ADDRESSING INEQUALITY IN SOUTH ASIA

Teaching Assistant - Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

2017 

Economics of Development (Prof. Lore Vandewalle)

2018 - 2019
 

Public Policy, Economic Development, and Gender (Prof. Martina Viarengo)

Finance and Development (Prof. Ugo Panizza)

Economics of Development (Prof. Lore Vandewalle)

2019 - 2020

Transnational Actors and Migration (Dr. Cecilia Cannon)

Applying Organization Theories to Practice (Prof. Jörg Dietz)

Economics of Development (Prof. Lore Vandewalle)

2020 - 2021

Applying Organization Theories to Practice (Prof. Jörg Dietz)

Economics of Development (Prof. Lore Vandewalle)

TEACHING
 
CV