Papers under Review

-"Political Participation and Missing Women: Evidence from the Egyptian Revolution" (with P. Ghosh and Z. Xu).

Abstract: We examine the effects of political protests during the Egyptian revolution between 2011 and 2014 on missing women in Egypt. We hypothesize that the increased female participation in these protests improved women’s empowerment and helped reduce missing women. Using a difference-in-differences analysis, our identification strategy is based on protest intensity heterogeneity and changes in missing women for age group [0-1] before and after the protests across different governorates in urban and rural areas. We find convincing causal evidence that the number of missing women decreased significantly in high protest intensity governorates compared to low protest intensity ones. Based on protest heterogeneity across different periods, we also show that the reduction in missing women in high protest intensity governorates was most visible after the fourth and final phase of protests.

-"Grassroots Organizations and Women’s Empowerment in a Post-Conflict Region: Evidence from Women Organizations in Northern Uganda” (with L. Davidson and J. Harris).

Abstract: This paper examines the effects of participation in women’s grassroot organizations (WGOs) on women’s empowerment in a post-conflict context. The analysis is based on cross-sectional survey data from northern Uganda. We study multiple dimensions of empowerment including economic and health care decisions, attitudes towards domestic violence, decision-making over functionings, political and civic participation, personal agency, and leadership. The empirical results suggest no significant effect of WGO membership, participation or satisfaction on empowerment. We argue that these findings raise new questions about why women join WGOs in post-conflict contexts and what the mechanics of individual and collective empowerment are.

-"Residential Housing Investment and Local Corruption: Evidence from the Chinese Housing Market” (with Y. Chih, C. Hu, J. Liu and H. Shen).

Abstract: We develop a stylized model to explore the relationship between local corruption and over-investment in residential housing sector. The model has four predictions: i) higher corruption increases investment in the residential housing sector, ii) higher corruption decreases investment in the non-housing sector; iii) there is a threshold effect of corruption on the residential housing over-investment. Corruption causes and aggravates the over-investment problem only when the corruption is high enough; and iv) city attractiveness can negate the effect of corruption on housing over-investment. We test these predictions using a newly developed prefecture city-level corruption dataset and find empirical support for all four hypotheses.

-" Network effects of Local Corruption on Foreign Direct Investment: Evidence from Chinese Cities” (with Y. Chih, C. Hu, J. Liu and H. Shen).

Abstract: This paper examines local corruption's direct and spillover effects on city-level foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in China. The empirical analysis is based on a new dataset on local corruption at various disaggregation levels. Using a convex combination structure in spatial econometrics, we decompose the overall effect of local corruption into a direct and an indirect effect and derive five novel empirical results. First, corruption has an economically and statistically significant negative effect on home city FDI inflows (the direct effect). Second, home city corruption has a significant and positive spillover effect on FDI inflows to competing cities (the indirect effect). Third, the direct effect is 16 times greater than the indirect effect, which leads to an overall negative effect of corruption on FDI. Fourth, regarding direct and indirect effects, FDI inflows to the inland and lower-income cities are more sensitive to local corruption. Fifth, the indirect effect is more pronounced for cities within the same province.

-"Target at the Right Level: Aid, Spillovers and Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa” (with Y. Duan).

Abstract: This article uses spatial analysis to investigate international aid effectiveness and aid spillovers at the sub-national level in Sub-Saharan Africa over the period of 1995-2014. Using geocoded aid data at various disaggregation levels together with nightlights data as a proxy for economic activity, we control for the aggregation bias that has plagued previous research on aid effectiveness. Our identification strategy also controls for simultaneity, reverse-causality and attenuation bias as well as country-specific heterogeneity. The empirical results show that aid flows at the local level have a significantly positive effect on local economic growth. Moreover, we find that aid at the local level has significantly positive spillover effects and enhances economic growth in adjacent regions. However, we detect an exact opposite effect from aid flows at the more aggregate levels.


-"Does Flu Vaccination Affect Wages? State-Level Evidence from the US" (with P. Ghosh, M. Kim, A. Chaudhry, J. Zhao).

Abstract: This paper examines the effects of state-level adult and child seasonal flu vaccination rates on monthly wages for women. Using an IV method to address possible endogeneity, we find a significantly positive effect of adult vaccination on wages. Furthermore, we show that this effect is stronger for working mothers aged 25-44 and those with younger children aged 6 months-12 years. We also find that children's vaccination has a significantly positive effect on mothers' wages and that this effect is stronger for women with younger children. The results also show that the positive effect is particularly larger for non-college educated women, aged 25-44 with at least one child.

-"Institutional Development Gaps and Export Diversification" (with C. Hu).

Abstract: This paper examines the effect of bilateral institutional development gaps in contract enforcement and financial development on export diversification. Using bilateral exports between 135 countries at the 4-digit SITC level between 2001 and 2018, our empirical analysis establishes four stylized facts. First, increasing institutional development gaps in the form of contract enforcement and financial depth leads to lower (higher) export diversification (specialization). Second, institutional development gaps decrease export diversification at both the extensive margin (i.e., countries export in fewer number of sectors) and the intensive margin (i.e., countries become more specialized in existing sectors). Third, the effect of institutional development gaps on export diversification is asymmetric and depend on the economic development level of home country relative to foreign. Fourth, countries with better institutions or larger institutional distances tend to concentrate in sectors that they have a comparative advantage.

-"Terms of Trade Shocks and Structural Change in Sub-Saharan Africa” (with O.S. Dahi and A.K. Dutt).

Work In Progress

  1. “IMF Programs, Conditionality and Growth Forecast Errors” (with T.A. Ghirnikar).
  2. “Effects of Environmental Regulations on Firm Investment in Cleaner Technology in China” (with T. Ghirnikar and C. Hu).
  3. “Development Channel and the Real Exchange Rate” (with S.A. Birang).
  4. “Corruption and Ghost Cities in China” (with C. Hu, H. Shen, J. Liu, and Y. Chih).
  5. “Dead Souls: Structural Adjustment and Work Accidents” (with M. Caglayan).
  6. “Effects of Structural Adjustment on Food Self-Sufficiency” (with J. McFadden and J. Paudel).