I study topics in political economy, labor economics, and behavioral economics with a focus on models of strategic interaction.

Working Papers

The Persistence of Disadvantages: Theory and Experimental evidence (Under Review)
Many economic situations involve contests for resources, such as winning prizes and earning bonuses. The likelihood of success in such contests is often skewed, favouring some competitors while putting others at a disadvantage. I study the strategic interaction between an advantaged and a disadvantaged competitor in a repeated contest where winning can help overcome the initial disadvantage. Theoretically, the competition for advantage increases effort by both competitors, but that the advantaged competitor increases effort more than the disadvantaged competitor. As a result, the disadvantaged competitor is even less likely to win when they have the potential to overcome their disadvantage, and the initial disadvantage is persistent. Evidence from a laboratory experiment supports these theoretical predictions.
Online Appendix

A signaling story of street charity: Theory and Field Evidence (joint with Samreen Malik) – Draft coming soon.
Won the Econometric Society’s Award for Best Paper in Applied Economics, 2022 for an earlier solo-authored version of the paper.                                         This paper examines the effect of offering a product on charitable behavior toward beggars on urban streets using a combination of theory and survey evidence. We propose a signaling model, which suggests that givers form beliefs about the intrinsic cost of working and willingness to earn based on the choice of begging with or without a product. In a separating equilibrium, the act of begging with a product separates the deserving from the undeserving and predicts higher charitable transfers to beggars with products. We use survey data collected in Delhi to find that the charitable transfers towards beggars with products are higher than towards beggars without products, even when givers did not take the product, indicating that the presence of a product does increase donations.

Lawful Progress: Unveiling the Laws That Reshape Women’s Work Decisions (joint with Anna Fruttero and Diego Gomes)
IMF Working Paper No. 2023/252
This paper examines the impact of women’s legal rights on labor force participation decisions made by women and men through a granular analysis of 35 gendered laws. Building on previous literature, it departs from the analysis using aggregate indices due to concerns about (i) the usability of an index for policymaking purposes, (ii) the economic interpretation of an index’s average marginal effects, (iii) and the implicit assumption of homogeneous effects underlying regressions with an index. The findings identify nine key laws that can foster female labor force participation. Notably, laws related to household dynamics and women’s agency within the family, such as divorce and property rights laws, and laws regarding the ability of women to travel outside the home, are especially important in influencing their decision to work. The paper also shows that improving women’s legal rights does not improve their labor force participation through a substitution effect as it has no systematic negative effect on men’s labor force participation.