Research

Working papers:

"Improving School Management of Violence. Evidence from a Nation-wide Policy in Peru" Job Market Paper

Abstract: Exposure to school violence has proven to be detrimental to human capital formation, but there is limited rigorous evidence about how to tackle this pervasive issue. This paper examines the impacts of a large-scale intervention that aimed to improve the school heads’ skills to manage school violence in Peru. I exploit the eligibility rules used to select beneficiary schools and use a fuzzy regression discontinuity design to estimate the short-term impacts of the intervention on violence and education-related outcomes. The findings show that the likelihood of reporting violence increased by 37 percentage points and that the number of reports of violence also rose among eligible schools. Using unique administrative, qualitative, and primary data, I find suggestive evidence that the documented rise in reports of violence is primarily due to shifts in reporting behaviour rather than a greater incidence of school violence. Upon exploring the short-term impacts on education-related outcomes, I find the intervention reduced the student likelihood of switching schools by three percentage points. These findings add to our understanding of the benefits of investing in school staff skills that contribute to the creation of safer learning environments.

Presentations: RISE Conference (from 10:21 min to 24:35 min)

Gender Norms, Violence and Adolescent Girls’ Trajectories. Evidence from a Field Experiment in India” (with Alison Andrew, Sonya Krutikova and Hemlata Verma) Submitted

Abstract: Striking gender gaps persist in fundamental aspects of human welfare. In India, the setting of this paper, these gaps are particularly large. Interventions often target adolescent girls with the aim of empowering them to make choices that go against the status quo – to remain in school longer or marry later, for example. This approach may inadvertently expose girls, who are often marginalized within their communities, to new risks if it encourages them to violate prevailing gender norms. In this study, we design an experiment to compare the effectiveness of targeting only adolescent girls with an approach that additionally engages with the enforcers of gender norms in the wider community. We find that both arms of the trial led to a reduction in school dropout and early marriage. We see large improvements in girls’ mental health but only in the arm which engages with the wider community. Improvements in mental health can be explained by community engagement causing gender norms to become more progressive and causing a reduction in the severity of sanctions that girls face for breaking norms. Both adolescent girls and their mothers perceived these shifts in norms and sanctions. Our results demonstrate that in settings where unequal outcomes are sustained through restrictive gender norms, change in the attitudes and behavior of the enforcers of these norms is critical for achieving meaningful improvements in womens well-being.

Selected work in progress:

"Seeds on Rocky Ground: the role of Alignment on School Principals’ Performance. Evidence from a top-down training intervention in Peru" [Draft available on request]

"Financing health providers: The case of universal health insurance in Peru" (with Antonella Bancalari and Marcos Vera-Hernandez)

Selected Policy & Program Evaluation Reports:

Promoting Adolescent Engagement, Knowledge and Health (PAnKH) in Rajasthan, India: Implementation and Cost-Effectiveness (with Sonya Krutikova, Alison Andrew, Hemlata Verma, Abhishek Gautam, Ravi Verma, Madhumita Das, Pranita Achyut, Ronak Soni and Sanjay Sharma), IFS report, December 2018.

Promoting Adolescent Engagement, Knowledge and Health (PAnKH) in Rajasthan, India: Program Impact Report (with Sonya Krutikova, Alison Andrew, Hemlata Verma, Abhishek Gautam, Ravi Verma, Madhumita Das, Pranita Achyut, Ronak Soni and Sanjay Sharma), IFS report, December 2018.

New Evidence on Pupils’ Skills, Teacher’s Attitudes & Practices from a Baseline Survey of Public Preschools in Timor-Leste (with Sourovi De, Adrian Beavis, Adiba Khaled and Madhav Vaidyanathan), OPM Report, September 2016.

Full list of projects available here.

Media:

"Hacia un 'Nuevo Normal' en la educación de niños y adolescentes: retos, riesgos y oportunidades" (con Alessandra Richter). Junio, 2020. HacerPeru.

Video-Columnas Grupo REDES-Ojo Público: dissemination of recent influential research among economists and non-economists with the aim of encouraging evidence-based policymaking.