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Essays in Applied Microeconomics

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This dissertation comprises of three original essays on different subjects, a culmination of six years of my graduate work. Two of the three chapters are co-authored with Prof. Nirvikar Singh, who is also one of my mentors on the dissertation committee.

In the first chapter, I present an analysis of the impact of the unconditional transfers intended for the elderly, the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pensions program of India. I use the panel of individual-level data in the two waves of India Human Development

Survey. Using propensity score matching techniques, I estimate the effect of these transfers on the labor supply of the beneficiary elderly and their household members. I find that the in the households of beneficiaries, the elderly retire or reduce work and the young adults are delaying entering the workforce.

The second chapter is a joint work of Prof. Singh and I. In this essay we present the results of our analysis of an original panel data of the richest persons in the USA based on the Forbes 400 list. We gathered twelve years of data, 2004-2015, across the financial crisis. In this panel, other than the Forbes’ estimation of wealth and rank, we also have other characteristics of these individuals such as source of wealth, age, and education. We use this panel data set to analyze the changing sources of wealth and the dynamics of wealth accumulation among the super-rich. We find that post-crisis the overall turnover in the list has reduced, indicating that the wealth is not changing hands as fast. Individuals with advanced degrees and those who have self-made wealth, were doing better in wealth generation before the crisis.

In the third chapter, also a joint work with Prof. Singh, we study the of mental healthcare provision in India using secondary data, published research, and government policy and law documents. We structure this essay using seven question for which we provide

partial answers. We find that while there are many new ideas in the policy and law that will make things better in the future, for the time-being, mental health care provision in India, both public and private, is in need of attention. We identify the areas that are

especially neglected, and ideas from literature that can contribute to rapid improvements. We also identify areas where more information and research is needed.

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