Working Papers

Child-rearing, Social Security and Married Women’s Labor Supply over the Life Cycle


This paper studies how career interruptions during child-rearing years affect the labor market trajectory, lifetime earnings, and Social Security benefits of married women in the United States. To this end, I develop a dynamic structural life-cycle model of female labor supply, savings, and Social Security benefit claiming and estimate the model using the Method of Simulated Moments for the 1943-1954 birth cohort. Utilizing the estimated model, I evalu- ate the effects of revenue-neutral introduction of the Social Security Caregiver Credits that cover lost earnings during early child-rearing years through change in retirement benefits. The model predicts that introducing the provision of earning credits for child care in the Social Security system would lead to a sizeable reduction in gender gap in average career earnings at the Social Security Early Retirement Age. The findings suggest that instituting caregiver credits for child-rearing in the absence of the marriage-based Social Security ben- efits would offset a substantial portion of the motherhood penalty in lifetime labor earnings of married women and increase their retirement benefit adequacy

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Received Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship

SNAP Work Requirement and Food Insecurity


In this paper, I examine the effect of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) work requirement reinstatement on food insecurity outcomes of able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs). The policy restricts SNAP benefits of ABAWDs to 3 months in a 36 month period if they are not working or participating in any work program for at least 20 hours a week. In the aftermath of the 2008 recession, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 waived work requirements nationwide, and many states reimplemented the work rule at different times beginning in 2011. I employ a difference-in-differences approach utilizing this cross-state variation in the reimplementation of the policy. Using rich information on food affordability and food intake behavior from the Food Security Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS-FSS), I find that promoting work for food assistance improved the overall food security status of ABAWDs by reducing disruptions in food intake, anxiety over food affordability and dependency on emergency food receipt. Subsample analyses indicate that effects are stronger for never married and less educated ABAWDs.


Work in Progress

Cohort-specific Pension Reform and Married Couple’s Labor Supply


Retirement decisions of married couples are often jointly planned. In this paper, I study how retirement behavior of married couples respond to cohort-specific Social Security policy reform that introduced actuarial deductions for early retirement in combination with an increase in the Full Retirement Age (FRA), that is, the age from which an individual may claim a non-reduced Social Security retirement benefit. I develop a rich dynamic structural model of older married couples’ savings, labor force participation, and Social Security benefit claims decisions over the life cycle and explore how the policy reform affects the financial incentive of married couples’ retirement timing decisions. I calibrate the model using the Method of Simulated Moments applied to the data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and simulate the life-cycle behavior of married couples under the specific benefit regime they face. I use the estimated model to perform a policy experiment and simulate couples’ labor supply behavior if the reform increases the FRA of men but keeps the FRA of women unchanged at the pre-reform level.

Publications (Pre-PhD)

Inclusive Growth: Economics as if People Mattered
Global Business Review, 2018, 19(3), pp. 756-770.
with Aruni Mitra


In this study, we provide a holistic working definition of inclusive growth, unlike previous definitions that come under the shadow of pro-poor growth or inequality reduction. We measure inclusive growth through a newly proposed index, named the Inclusive Growth Index (IGI), based on 24 developmental indicator variables (categorized into expansion, sustainability, equity in access, and efficiency of economic activities and institutions) as its components. We have employed two kinds of weighting schemes in constructing the index: an ad hoc weighting scheme and a weighting scheme based on principal component analysis (PCA), performed differently on variables under each dimension. We calculated the IGI values for 16 Asian countries and ranked the countries according to their respective inclusive growth achievements. By comparing the IGI values with the Human Development Index (HDI) values, our findings uncover how the HDI values can be misleading in measuring the development performance of a country and how the IGI can identify income-based as well as non-income based aspects of well-being.

Published Version

Estimating Elasticity of Import Demand for Gold in India
Resources Policy, 2017, 51, pp. 183-193.
with Paramita Mukherjee and Vivekananda Mukherjee


In India, rising demand for gold had an adverse impact on the country's current account balance, and the attempts to curb gold import demand often failed in the recent past. In this paper, we empirically investigate the reasons for such failures by analyzing the possibility of habit formation and inventory adjustment effects in determining the dynamics of gold import demand in India. Using three dynamic demand models based on distributed lag specifications, we estimate the price and income elasticities of different forms of physical gold imports, viz. non-monetary powder form of gold, other non-monetary semi-manufactured forms of gold, and other non-monetary unwrought forms of gold. Based on monthly gold import data, we find that Indian consumers care about variation in gold prices, silver prices, gold import expenditures, and long-term bond yield in the short-run, but they exhibit demand persistence in the long run. Different sensitivity of different forms of gold import suggests that an aggregate demand analysis fails to capture the non-symmetric mechanisms operating on different components of gold import demand in India.

Published Version
Commentary: The Hindu Business Line