Working Papers

Managing Health Outcomes through Local Governance

Authors: Hans P. Binswanger-Mkhize, Hari K. Nagarajan, and Kailash C. Pradhan


Has the devolution of responsibilities and finances to local governments in India produced positive impacts on health status and incomes of men and women? Using a national data set with details on health, health seeking behavior and local governance, we estimate a system of simultaneous equations to analyze the incidence of illness via a health production function and show that health care expenditures at the household level, choice of health care provider by members, and the incidence of illness will jointly impact individual incomes. The incidence of illness is significantly reduced by better access to drinking water, clean surroundings and awareness about health campaigns. Discussions of health issues in the Gram Sabha reduce illnesses for both men and women and their private health expenditures. Reserving the position of the village head to women leads to greater participation in Gram Sabha meetings; better problem resolution in water supply, sanitation and health; greater village health expenditures; and greater satisfaction with access to health. The increased expenditures of Panchayats on health care reduce the incidence of illness three times more for women than for men, but reduce their private health care expenditures about equally. It also shifts the choice of health care providers from private to public facilities, more so for women than for men. Family inheritance increase the use of private health care for both genders, while a woman’s individual land inheritance increases her use of both public and private health care. While women do not have lower access to health care or are discriminated within the household in terms of access to different providers, their earnings are adversely affected to a greater degree by illness compared to that of men. Women’s private health expenditures tend to improve their incomes more compared to that of men.      

Keywords: Political Agency, Gender, Health, India.


Does Inheritance Law Reform Improve Women’s Access to Capital?
Evidence from Urban India

Authors: Klaus Deininger, Songqing Jin, Hari K. Nagarajan, Fang Xia


This paper explores the impacts of the amendment to the 1956 Hindu Succession Act on Hindu females’ intergenerational transfers of physical and human capital. Information on the timing of three generations’ key life events helps isolate the causal effects. Our primary estimation strategy is a difference-in difference estimator in which we compare the share of total assets received by male and female siblings in the same household between households whose heads died before and after the amendment. In the case of human capital investment, we compare primary education attainment of young cohorts who were potentially benefit from the reform and the older cohorts who were unlikely to benefit from the reform. In light of the fact that the amendment applies only to Hindus but not to Muslims, we compare the results between Hindus and Muslims for a robustness check. The results suggest that the amendment increased the share of total physical assets received by Hindu females who were single before the reform by 0.216. They also point towards an increase in the share of gifts transferred to Hindu females by 0.147. Hindu girls gained 0.594 years of more primary education than boys relative to the old cohort after the amendment.    

Keywords: Gender, India, Inheritance Law, Intergenerational Transfers


Fiscal Federalism and Competitive Bidding for Foreign Investment as a Multistage Game

Authors: Raghbendra Jha, Hari K. Nagarajan, Kolumum R. Nagarajan


This paper models the behavior of states in a federal country wising to attract foreign firms to locate within their own individual jurisdictions. The essential intertemporal character of this decision is modeled as a multi-stage game to attract such foreign investment in these states. It is found that, when states with unequal political or economic infrastructure compete, the resulting Nash equilibrium profiles are inefficient. Under certain conditions, states that have won once, can “allow” a rival to win in a subsequent stage. The resulting Nash Equilibrium is more efficient. If the option of “allowing” a rival to win is not available, then states may resort to “suicide” strategies defined as outcomes created by history of losses.

Keywords: Fiscal Federalism, Multi stage games, suicide strategies.

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