Essays on gender and entrepreneurship in India
- This dissertation is composed of three essays in development economics on the topics of gender and entrepreneurship in India. The first chapter (co-authored with Solène Delecourt) explores gender differences in business performance among micro-entrepreneurs in India. Many well-known studies have shown that female-owned micro-enterprises are less profitable and have lower returns to capital than their male counterparts. This raises an important question: what drives the estimated gender gap in business performance? We examine this question in the context of vegetable sellers in Jaipur, India, a context where observationally women make less than men. We conduct two field experiments that keep every business aspect the same except for the gender of the owner. More specifically, we set up our own shops so that location, goods supplied, and hours of operation are held constant. In Experiment 1, we isolate demand-side constraints by training confederate sellers to sell packaged goods at fixed prices using a standardized script, thereby additionally controlling for seller behavior. In Experiment 2, we only control for supply-side characteristics. In both experiments, we find that women earn at least as much as men. Our results indicate that the estimated gender earnings gap in this context is not due to differential demand-side constraints or seller behavior, but instead is likely driven by differences in capital. The second chapter (co-authored with Solène Delecourt) exposes gender differences in self-reported data. While it is well-known that self-reported measures of profits and revenues are subject to considerable measurement error, most studies of the gender gap among entrepreneurs rely on self-reported measures of profits. We study vegetable sellers in Jaipur, India, and examine how they report the amount of cash they have on them to surveyors. Men underreport 13% of their cash on hand, on average, whereas women only underreport 4%. Additionally, women are 20% more likely than men to report accurate guesses within Rs 100. This gender reporting gap raises concerns about the use of self-reported data. If sellers misreport revenues and profits in the same way that they misreport cash on hand, using self-reported data could considerably bias the gender gap in earnings. The third chapter analyzes the impact of an innovative policy to reduce child marriage. Despite being illegal in most countries, child marriage is till widespread. In India, the "Apni Beti, Apna Dhan" scheme is the first large-scale conditional cash transfer that directly targeted child marriage by requiring that beneficiaries be unmarried at age 18 to receive the cash transfer. I use a difference-in-difference strategy and synthetic controls to estimate the effects of this program. My results show that the program did not improve female infant mortality, the sex ratio, or women's educational attainment. I find very limited evidence that the program led to a decrease in the incidence of child marriage. These findings could suggest that long-term financial incentives for parents are not enough to improve outcomes for girls in a context with strong gender norms. However, given the paucity of information on program take-up and implementation, it is also possible that these two factors constituted important barriers to the program's success.
|Type of resource
|electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
|1 online resource.
|Ng, Odyssia Sophie Si Jia
|Degree committee member
|Degree committee member
|Stanford University, Department of Economics
|Statement of responsibility
|Submitted to the Department of Economics.
|Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2020.
- © 2020 by Odyssia Sophie Si Jia Ng
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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