Working Papers:

  • (Job Market Paper) Banking and Marriage Markets: Evidence from India’s Branch Licensing Policy
    • This paper estimates the effect of access to credit on the probability of marriage of women and men in rural India. In societies where dowry payments are customary, an increase in access to credit can potentially increase the probability of marriage of girls either through an increase in income or consumption smoothing. Using a formal bank branch expansion in rural India and an instrumental variables approach, I find the following: First, the probability of marriage increases for girls; Second, this effect is concentrated during the years that households do not experience positive agricultural income shocks; Third, consistent with this result of a tighter “marriage squeeze”, that is, there are more potential brides in the marriage market than potential grooms, an increase in per capita rural bank branches also leads to an increase in dowry payments, increase in women’s distance of marriage migration, and a decrease in quality of spouse. The marriage market results are further supported by the following findings: (a) An increase in per capita rural bank branches only increases school enrollment of young girls, and therefore, fails to delay the marriage of girls who are at the highest risk of marriage; (b) An increase in per capita rural bank branches decreases labor participation of women, and therefore, fails to increase the value of women’s labor in a household.
  • Missing Girls, Income Shocks, and Consumption Smoothing (with Joshua D. Merfeld). SSRN Link.
    • Prior research has shown that economic conditions can impact the sex ratio, which is especially imbalanced in some developing countries. Where this imbalance exists, males vastly outnumber females, especially at younger ages. Building on previous work, we show that productivity shocks in India, proxied by rainfall, continue to be an important predictor of the sex ratio: the sex ratio is more balanced in good rainfall years than in poor rainfall years. In addition, we show that the effect of rainfall during year of birth on height-for-age is stronger for girls than for boys. We then show that a large government public works program in India attenuates the relationship between rainfall and both the sex ratio and height-for-age for girls. We present evidence that this attenuation is driven by a decoupling of rainfall and consumption, suggesting the government program may help improve households’ ability to smooth consumption following negative productivity shocks.


Work in Progress (Statement of progress is available here):

  • Women’s Job Opportunities and Marriage Quality (with Rachel M. Heath)
  • Combating Domestic Insurgency with Access to Finance: A Case Study of Naxalites in India (with Bijetri Bose)
  • Risk-sharing Group Formation and Shirking (with Aurora Stephany and Jane Lee)
  • Consumer Preferences for Precision Medicine Technologies: Evidence from a Discrete Choice Experiment (with D. Regier, D. Veenstra, A. Basu, and J. Carlson)
  • Drivers of Genomic Precision Medicine in the US: Payer Preferences (with D. Dhanda, D. Regier, D. Veenstra, A. Basu, and J.Carlson)
  • What US Healthcare Providers Value in Genomic Precision Medicine: A Discrete Choice Experiment (with D. Dhanda, D. Regier, D. Veenstra, A. Basu, N. Hendrix and J. Carlson)


Policy Reports (Abstracts are available here):

  • Santos, F., Fletschner, D. & Saha, J. (2014) “Quantitative Evidence on the Impact of Improving Land Rights or Tenure Security: A Systematic and Gender-Sensitive Literature Review”. Landesa, Rural Development Institute.
  • Oza, S. K. & Saha, J. (2012) “Five Years of Researching Financial Services for the Poor”. Centre for Micro Finance, Institute for Financial Management and Research. Listed as the 4th most popular and recommended reading by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) for the year 2012.