About Me

Sakshi Gupta

Job Market Candidate, Department of Economics, Columbia University


Labor Market Response to Gendered Breadwinner Norms: Evidence from India
Awards: Vickrey Award for best 3rd year paper (Runner-up); Wueller Pre-Dissertation Award (Runner-up)
Coverage: IGC - Ideas For India
Presentations: NEUDC 2020, Young Economist Symposium (YES) 2021, ACEGD ISI 2021, World Bank's South Asia Economic Policy Network Conference 2022, Yale Gender Brown Bag Series 2022


    Despite recent gains in women's educational attainment and reproductive agency, substantial gender gaps in the labor market still remain, particularly in developing countries. In this paper, I study the impact of culture and social norms in explaining this puzzle in the Indian setting. In particular, I examine the role of the male-breadwinner norm, which dictates that husbands should earn more than their wives. I first establish a sharp discontinuity in the distribution of the share of the wife's income at the point where the wife’s income exceeds the husband's income. I theoretical show that this pattern can be best explained by gender identity norms which make couples averse to a situation where the wife earns more than her husband. I also provide empirical evidence that this aversion has real implications for the labor market outcomes of the wife. First, the wife is less likely to participate in market activities if her potential income is likely to exceed her husband’s. Second, she earns less than her potential if she does work and can potentially out-earn her husband. Evidence from observing couples over time and bunching methods supplement these results. Moreover, these results are more pronounced in couples where the husband is making the labor market decisions of the wife and where other regressive gender norms are prevalent.


Liquidity Shock and Schooling: Evidence from India’s Demonetization ( with Dhruv Jain )


    Evidence across developing countries suggests that parents are often credit constrained when making schooling decisions for their children. But little is known about the severity of this constraint. That is, would temporary shocks to liquidity affect parents’ decisions? To identify this effect, we use a shock to available cash in the economy induced by India’s 2016 demonetization. The policy made 86% of currency-in-circulation illegal overnight and individuals could deposit old notes at the bank in exchange for new ones. We identify the impacts of demonetization’s severity by leveraging discontinuities in banking access across Indian districts. Difference-in-discontinuity estimates show that districts which experienced a more severe liquidity shock saw an increase in dropout from private schools but no effect in free public schools, consistent with the presence of real credit constraints.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Financial Incentives in Altering Parents’ Fertility Decisions


    Do financial incentives provided by governments, for the protection and betterment of a girl child, have intended effects on the fertility decision of parents? As part of a broader research agenda, I look at this question in context of an intervention, Bhagyalakshmi. Launched in March 2006, in an Indian state, Karnataka, the intervention provided financial incentives to couples for having girl children with an intention to improve the sex ratio and the condition of girls born in the state. My results suggest that Bhagyalakshmi led to an increase in total fertility in Karnataka by approximately 1.3% but had no effect on the proportion of sons living in the state, indicating the the scheme was not able to achieve it’s intended goals.


Is there an Urban Wage Premium in Rwanda? ( with Jonathan Bower & Carlo Menon )
IGC Working Paper C-20061-RWA-1


    Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, is growing rapidly, and is by far the largest engine of productivity and growth in the country. Whilst Kigali’s household incomes are higher and poverty incidence is lower than in other parts of the country, new migrants to the city often experience precarious housing conditions and difficulty in accessing decent jobs. This paper uses household data from Rwanda to analyse the urban wage premium and urban consumption premium. We find that both nominal wage and nominal consumption of workers in Rwanda are significantly higher in urban areas than in rural areas - and correlate to city size - even when individual characteristics are controlled for. This implies some form of agglomeration effect inherent to Rwanda's cities. We also find evidence that rural-urban migrants undergo a learning process in which their wage increases as they gain more experience in the city; however this result does not hold for consumption which is higher even in the first two years of living in a city, implying resource transfer. The evidence we find in this paper confirms the importance of the urbanisation process for productivity and wage growth. Our findings have implications for how, and where, Rwanda seeks to harness urbanisation to drive growth through urban investments.

Sharing Responsibility through Joint Decisionmaking and Implications for Intimate-Partner Violence: Evidence from 12 Sub-Saharan African countries ( with Aletheia Donald, Cheryl Doss & Markus Goldstein )
WB Working Paper WPS9760, Blog


    Intimate partner violence affects 36 percent of women in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper examines the relationship between decision making within couples and the incidence of intimate partner violence across 12 African countries. Using the wife’s responses to survey questions, the analysis finds that compared with joint decision making, sole decision making by the husband is associated with a 3.3 percentage point higher incidence of physical intimate partner violence in the last year, while sole decision making by the wife is associated with a 10 percentage point higher incidence. Similar patterns hold for emotional and sexual violence. When the husband’s report of decision making is included in the analysis, joint decision making emerges as protective only when spouses agree that decisions are made jointly. Notably, agreement on joint decision making is associated with lower intimate partner violence than agreement on decision making by the husband. The results are consistent with joint decision making as a mechanism that allows spouses to share responsibility and mitigate conflict if the decision is later regretted.


Banks and Roads: Do Complementarities Matter? ( with Dhruv Jain )

Do Informal Firms Benefit from Expansion in Formal Credit? Regression Discontinuity Evidence from India ( with Dhruv Jain )

The Measurement and Evolution of Son Preference in India ( with S Anukriti & Nistha Sinha )