Arkadev Ghosh

PhD Job Market Candidate

My research interests are in Applied Microeconomics, with a focus on Development Economics and Political Economy.

For my job market paper, I implemented a field experiment in India to understand whether the effects of religious diversity on productivity and worker attitudes depend on a firm’s production technology.

I expect to graduate in 2022 and will be available for interviews during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Research Areas: Development Economics, Political Economy, Applied Microeconomics

Education

PhD Economics, University of British Columbia: 2016 – 2022 (Expected)
Field: Development Economics, Political Economy, Applied Microeconomics

MSc Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science: 2015-2016

MA Economics, University of Edinburgh: 2011-2015
Year Abroad, University of Toronto: 2013-2014

Awards

President’s Academic Excellence Initiative PhD Award — 2020, 2021
Center for Innovative Data (CIDE) Research Grant — 2019, 2020
Hugo E. Meilicke Memorial Fellowship, UBC — 2019
Bank of Montreal Graduate Fellowship, UBC — 2018
International Tuition Award — 2016-2021
UBC GSI Fellowship — 2016, 2017

JOB MARKET PAPER

This paper implements a field experiment in India to understand whether the effects of religious diversity on productivity and attitudes depend on a firm's production technology. I randomly assigned Hindu and Muslim workers at a manufacturing plant in West Bengal to religiously mixed or homogeneous teams. Production tasks are categorized as high- or low-dependency based on the degree of continuous coordination required for production. I find that mixed teams are less productive than homogeneous teams, but only in the high-dependency tasks. Nevertheless, these negative effects on productivity attenuate over time, subsiding completely in four months. While religious mixing lowers productivity in high-dependency tasks but not low-dependency tasks, the opposite is true for attitudes. Mixing improves out-group attitudes for Hindu workers in high-dependency tasks but there are little or no effects in low-dependency tasks. The improvements in production and attitudes are consistent with the minority (Muslim) workers initiating and paying the cost of integration. Overall, this pattern of results suggests that there is a tension between the goal of maximizing productivity and that of improving intergroup relations. [GO TO PAPER]

WORKING PAPERS

Reject & Resubmit at The Quarterly Journal of Economics

Close-kin marriage, by sustaining tightly-knit family structures, may impede development. We find support for this hypothesis using US state-level bans on cousin marriage. Our measure of cousin marriage comes from the excess frequency of same-surname marriages, a method borrowed from population genetics that we apply to millions of marriage records from 1800 to 1940. We show that state bans on first-cousin marriage did reduce rates of in-marriage, and that affected descendants therefore have higher incomes and more schooling. Our results are consistent with this effect being driven by weakening family ties rather than a genetic channel.[GO TO PAPER]

Do opportunistic political business cycles always entail economic expansions before elections? Under what conditions might politicians actually find it favorable to reduce economic activity? I study mining activity in Indian states and districts between 1960-2015, and find that mining intensity gradually decreases as elections approach. This pattern is manifested in out put, accidents and deaths in mining fields, and mineral licensing. I present evidence that the magnitude of these cycles are determined primarily by two factors: electoral competition and the intensity of Naxalite conflict, an ongoing left-wing insurgency against the Indian government. While mining fatalities are costly during elections in general, I show that cycles in conflict prone areas are exacerbated in order to minimize the tax base of rebel groups, who thrive on extortion of mining revenues and target elections with violence. Reduced mining intensity in election years results in less electoral violence in mineral rich districts relative to mineral poor ones, where politicians are unable to minimize the rebels’ resource base as effectively.[GO TO PAPER]

WORK IN PROGRESS

While social networks are a key determinant of migration decisions, useful measures of these networks are hard to come by. This is especially so in large, population-scale datasets. We show that surnames are a useful proxy for kin-based social networks using multiple full-count rounds of the US census from the late 19th century. We validate this novel use of surnames to identify kinship ties by showing that (1) Americans are more likely to migrate to states where more people share their surname, and (2) people with more common surnames, having larger such networks are more likely to migrate across states.

We aim to dig deeper into the determinants of Hindu-Muslim stereotypes in India, with a particular focus on contrasting stereotypes based on an economic threat, to an alternative primordial hypothesis formed from historical hatred or fear. Understanding better the nature of these stereotypes can have important implications for the effects of increased contact on attitudes and preferences and also potentially inform integration policies. We plan to uncover these different motives via a combination of lab in the field experiments and salience of identity tests. We will further exploit some natural experiments with regards to government caste classifications in particular sectors of the economy to determine how these stereotypes could change in the context of increased economic competition. We also plan to experimentally implement certain information treatments to further shed light on how stereotypes might change in response to political messaging. An issue becoming ever more relevant in present-day India.

OTHER WRITINGS

Prejudice in a pandemic: Covid rumours and factory labour supply, Ideas for India, 8th May, 2020.

University of British Columbia

Course Material Preparation and Instruction

PhD Math Camp (Math review course for 1st year PhD students): 2021

Teaching Assistant

Econ 493 - Advanced Empirical Methods for International Economics (4th yearundergraduate): 2019, 2020

Econ 325 - Introduction to Empirical Economics (3rd year undergraduate): 2018

Econ 326 - Methods of Empirical Research in Economics (3rd year undergraduate): 2018

Econ 310 - Principles of Microeconomics (1st year undergraduate): 2016