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Title:Three essays in development economics
Author(s):Jogani, Chitra
Director of Research:Thornton, Rebecca
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Thornton, Rebecca
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Akresh, Richard; Marx, Benjamin M; Deryugina, Tatyana
Department / Program:Economics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):India, Minority, Education, Policies
Abstract:This dissertation comprises of three chapters on understanding effectiveness of public policies in a democracy. Chapter 1 titled ``Effect of Political Quotas on Candidate Attributes and the Provision of Public Goods" studies the effect of such quotas on attributes of political candidates and on the provision of public goods. I use a regression discontinuity design that exploits the assignment of caste quotas in the latest redistricting in India. I find quotas lead to political candidates with lower wealth, lower criminal records, but similar education levels. The difference in attributes is also observed and is more pronounced for the stronger candidates: those affiliated with political parties, and those elected for office. The caste quotas also increased the representation of women in politics. I find no significant difference in the level of public goods currently available in rural India between quota-bound and non-quota-bound areas. The results suggest an increase in political diversity with no negative effects on the provision of basic facilities. Chapter 2 titled ``Does More Schooling Infrastructure Affect Literacy?" studies how the expansion in schooling infrastructure affects the female literacy rate using the Education for All program in India. I exploit the variation in the targeting of the program to educationally and not educationally backward sub-districts. Using regression discontinuity and panel data of all schools in India, I find that there was a significant expansion in the total number of schools, number of girls' schools, and residential schools for girls, in the educationally backward areas. But being classified as educationally backward did not lead to a significant effect on either the female literacy rate or the gender gap in literacy rate. To achieve a quicker solution to low levels of literacy, alternative cost effective methods compared to large scale infrastructure programs can be explored. Finally, Chapter 3 titled ``Spatial Analysis of an Education Program and Literacy in India" explores the presence of spatial dependency for studying the association between an education program and literacy. To do this, I use data from a nation-wide education program in India which involved building schools and increasing the accessibility of education to girls. The program targeted geographical districts that were educationally backward or had a low rate of rural female literacy. The paper finds significant spatial correlation in the educational backwardness of districts and in the outcome of interest, change in rural female literacy rate. To account for the spatial dependency, I fit a spatially distributed error model (SDEM). The SDEM estimates suggest a 0.08 percentage point increase in the rural female literacy rate and a 0.02 percentage point decrease in the gender gap in literacy rate with a one point increase in the educational backwardness of a district. The SDEM estimates are similar to the estimates from a spatially blind model, and there is no additional influence of the program received by the neighboring districts on the change in rural female literacy rate of a district.
Issue Date:2019-07-10
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Chitra Jogani
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08

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