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Publications
Subject(s)
Economics, politics and business environment
Keyword(s)
School feeding, learning, midday meal, primary school education
JEL Code(s)
I21, I25, O12
We study the effect of the world’s largest school feeding program on children’s learning outcomes. Staggered implementation across different states of a 2001 Indian Supreme Court Directive mandating the introduction of free school lunches in public primary schools generates plausibly exogenous variation in program exposure across different birth cohorts. We exploit this to estimate the effect of program exposure on math and reading test scores of primary school-aged children. We find that prolonged exposure to midday meals has a robust positive effect on learning achievement. We further investigate various channels that may account for this improvement including complementary schooling inputs, heterogeneous responses by socio-economic status, and intra-household redistribution.
ISSN (Print)
0304-3878
Journal Article
Review of Economics and Statistics
Steffen Altmann, Armin Falk, Paul Heidhues, Rajshri Jayaraman, Marrit Teirlinck
Subject(s)
Economics, politics and business environment
Keyword(s)
Default options, online platforms, charitable giving, field experiment
JEL Code(s)
D03, D01, D64, C93
We study how defaults affect charitable donations. In a field experiment that was conducted on a large online platform for charitable giving, we exogenously vary the default options in the donation form in two distinct choice dimensions. The first pertains to the primary donation decision, namely, how much to contribute to the charitable cause. The second relates to a “codonation” decision of how much to contribute to supporting the online platform itself. We find a strong impact of defaults on individual behavior: in each of our treatments, the modal positive contributions in both choice dimensions invariably correspond to the specified default amounts. Defaults, nevertheless, have no significant effects on average donation levels. This is because defaults in the donation domain induce some people to donate more and others to donate less. In contrast, higher defaults in the secondary choice dimension unambiguously induce higher average contributions to the online platform. We complement our experimental results by setting up and estimating a structural model that explores whether personalizing defaults based on individuals’ donation histories can help the online platform to increase donation revenues.
Accepted at Review of Economics and Statistics
Journal Article
American Economic Review 106 (2): 316–358
Published as NBER Working Paper No. 19849 under the title Productivity response to a contract change
2016 KfW Research Prize for Excellence
Subject(s)
Economics, politics and business environment
Keyword(s)
Labor contracts, incentives, behavioral economics, plantations
JEL Code(s)
D82, D86, J33, J41, J43, O13, Q12
We study a contract change for tea pluckers on an Indian plantation, with a higher government-stipulated baseline wage. Incentive piece rates were lowered or kept unchanged. Yet, in the following month, output increased by 20 to 80 percent. This response contradicts the standard model and several variants, is only partly explicable by greater supervision, and appears to be "behavioral." But in subsequent months, the increase is comprehensively reversed. Though not an unequivocal indictment of "behavioral" models, these findings suggest that nonstandard responses may be ephemeral, and should ideally be tracked over an extended period of time.
Copyright © 2016 by the American Economic Association.
Volume
106
Journal Pages
316–358
Journal Article
The Scandinavian Journal of Economics 117 (4): 1176–1203
Subject(s)
Economics, politics and business environment
Keyword(s)
Primary school enrollment, school lunches, natural experiment, ITT
At the end of 2001, the Indian Supreme Court issued a directive ordering states to institute school lunches – known locally as "midday meals" – in government primary schools. This paper provides a large-scale assessment of the enrollment effects of India's midday meal scheme, which offers warm lunches, free of cost, to 120 million primary school children across India and is the largest school feeding program in the world. To isolate the causal effect of the policy, we make use of staggered implementation across Indian states in government but not private schools. Using a panel data set of almost 500,000 schools observed annually from 2002 to 2004, we find that midday meals result in substantial increases in primary school enrollment, driven by early primary school responses to the program. Our results are robust to a wide range of specification tests.
© The editors of The Scandinavian Journal of Economics 2015
Volume
117
Journal Pages
1176–1203
ISSN (Online)
1467-9442
Journal Article
Journal of Political Economy 123 (2): 444–496
Lawrence E. Blume, William A. Brock, Steven N. Durlauf, Rajshri Jayaraman (2015)
Subject(s)
Economics, politics and business environment
Keyword(s)
Social interactions, identification, incomplete information games
JEL Code(s)
C21, C23, C31, C35, C72, Z13
This paper provides a systematic analysis of identification in linear social interactions models. This is both a theoretical and an econometric exercise as the analysis is linked to a rigorously delineated model of interdependent decisions. We develop an incomplete information game that describes individual choices in the presence of social interactions. The equilibrium strategy profiles are linear. Standard models in the empirical social interactions literature are shown to be exact or approximate special cases of our general framework, which in turn provides a basis for understanding the microeconomic foundations of those models. We consider identification of both endogenous (peer) and contextual social effects under alternative assumptions on a priori information about network structure available to an analyst, and contrast the informational content of individual-level and aggregated data. Finally, we discuss potential ramifications for identification of endogenous group selection and differences between the information sets of analysts and agents.
With permission of the University of Chicago Press
Volume
123
Journal Pages
444–496
Journal Article
Economic and Political Weekly 49 (25): 47–53
Rajshri Jayaraman, Debraj Ray, Shing-Yi Wang (2014)
Subject(s)
Economics, politics and business environment; Health and environment
Rajshri Jayaraman, Debraj Ray and Shing-Yi Wang study gender differentials in the seeking of eye care by utilising a unique dataset collected with the assistance of Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai, India. Jayaraman et al. assess possible gender-based discrepancies in diagnosed eye disease, conditional on seeking care.
Volume
49
Journal Pages
47–53
Journal Article
Journal of Economics and Management Strategy 22 (3): 529–550
Benoit Dostie, Rajshri Jayaraman (2013)
Subject(s)
Economics, politics and business environment
Keyword(s)
Process innovation, managerial incentives, x-efficiency
JEL Code(s)
D22, O31, J33
This paper asks whether firms respond to cost shocks by introducing process innovations and increasing the use of managerial incentives. Using a large panel data set of workplaces in Canada, our identification strategy relies on exogenous variation in costs arising from increased border security along the 49th parallel fol- lowing 9/11. Our longitudinal difference-in-differences estimates indicate that firms responded to the cost shock by introducing new or improved processes, but did not change their use of managerial incentives. These results suggest that the threat of bankruptcy may provide impetus for improving efficiency.
© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume
22
Journal Pages
529–550
Journal Article
The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy 12 (1): 1–39
Benoit Dostie, Rajshri Jayaraman (2012)
Subject(s)
Economics, politics and business environment
Keyword(s)
productivity, information technologies, organizational practices, panel data
JEL Code(s)
O33, D22, D24
Using a large, longitudinal, nationally representative workplace-level data-set, we explore the productivity gains associated with computer use and organizational redesign. The empirical strategy involves the estimation of a production function, augmented to account for technology use and organizational design, correcting for unobserved heterogeneity. Our first-difference and GMM estimates suggest that the productivity premium associated with computer use is not statistically different from zero. Neither is there any evidence to support the idea that complementarities between computer use and organizational redesign have any substantial bearing on productivity.
Volume
12
Journal Pages
1–39
Journal Article
Applied Economics 41 (27): 1–10
Benoit Dostie, Rajshri Jayaraman, Mathieu Trépanier (2009)
Subject(s)
Economics, politics and business environment
Keyword(s)
computers, productivity
Using North American data, we revisit the question first broached by Krueger (1993) and re-examined by DiNardo and Pischke (1997) of whether there exists a real wage differential associated with computer use. Employing a mixed effects model with matched employer-employee data to correct for the fact that workers and workplaces that use computers are self-selected, we find that computer users enjoy an almost 4% wage premium over nonusers. Failure to correct for worker and workplace selection effect leads to a more than twofold overestimate of this premium.
Volume
41
Journal Pages
1–10
Journal Article
Economic Development and Cultural Change 54 (2): 405–421
Benoit Dostie, Rajshri Jayaraman (2006)
Subject(s)
Economics, politics and business environment
Keyword(s)
primary school enrollment, india, education
Attaining universal basic education remains an elusive goal in many developing countries. This article examines the determinants of school enrollment among children in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, two large north Indian states. In addition to individual‐ and household‐level influences, we consider the role of village‐level contextual effects on the school enrollment decision. Our results suggest that enrollment is increasing in parental education as well as wealth and that village caste composition and aggregate deprivation also influence individual enrollment decisions.
With permission of the University of Chicago Press
Volume
54
Journal Pages
405–421
Journal Article
Economica 72 (288): 597–613
Rajshri Jayaraman, Mandar Oak (2005)
Subject(s)
Economics, politics and business environment
Keyword(s)
signalling, local currency, information asymmetry
JEL Code(s)
D8, O12, E4
The last decade has seen the burgeoning of several hundred local community currency institutions in cities across the world. Although residents of these communities claim that local currency promotes local development, how it does so has hitherto been unexplored. We argue that the introduction of a municipal currency may serve as a signal of demand for local goods. Where demand uncertainty deters firms from investing in more productive technologies, such a signal improves the chances that technology choice will be optimal. The introduction of a local currency therefore always improves ex ante efficiency and may lead to ex post efficiency, with strictly higher levels of productivity and welfare.
© The London School of Economics and Political Science 2005
Volume
72
Journal Pages
597–613
Journal Article
World Bank Economic Review 18 (3): 443–464
Rajshri Jayaraman, Peter F. Lanjouw (2004)
Subject(s)
Economics, politics and business environment
Keyword(s)
SMEs, enviroment, poverty
Governments and international development agencies have intensified efforts to promote small-scale enterprises as an engine of propoor growth. In Brazil, however, small-scale industries may also be responsible for the bulk of air pollution emissions. Although employees of polluting small-scale industries in Brazil are not disproportionately poor, simulations suggest that stringent environmental regulation resulting in widespread closures of pollution-intensive small-scale industries would result in a non-negligible increase in poverty among employees of these firms. The results suggest that the enthusiasm for small-scale enterprises needs to be tempered by awareness of the potential environmental costs imposed by this sector.
Volume
18
Journal Pages
443–464
Journal Article
World Bank Research Observer 14 (1): 1–30
Rajshri Jayaraman, Peter F. Lanjouw (1999)
Subject(s)
Economics, politics and business environment
Keyword(s)
village studies, India
This paper examines the evolution of poverty and inequality in rural India by reviewing longitudinal village studies. It explores the main forces of economic change - agricultural intensification, changing land relations, and occupational diversification - from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, and it considers the roles of various institutions as conduits of change. Although most village studies support the survey-based judgment that rural poverty declined in India during the1970s and 1980s, they find that progress has been slow and irregular and that inequalities within villages have persisted. These continued inequalities may constrain both the scope for further poverty reduction from economic growth and the impact of policy interventions.
Volume
14
Journal Pages
1–30