NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Lakshmi Iyer

Contact and additional information for this authorAll papers and publicationsWorking Papers onlyWorking Papers with publication info

Working Papers and Chapters

December 2013Economic Transition and Private-Sector Labor Demand: Evidence from Urban China
with Xin Meng, Nancy Qian, Xiaoxue Zhao: w19733
This paper studies the policy determinants of economic transition and estimates the demand for labor in the infant private sector in urban China. We show that a reform that untied access to housing in urban areas from working for the state sector accounts for more than a quarter of the overall increase in labor supply to the private sector during 1986-2005. Using the reform to instrument for private-sector labor supply, we find that private-sector labor demand is very elastic. We provide suggestive evidence that the reform equalized wages across sectors and reduced private-sector rents.
July 2013Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India
with Sonia R. Bhalotra, Guilhem Cassan, Irma Clots-Figueras: w19173
This paper investigates whether the religious identity of state legislators in India influences development outcomes, both for citizens of their religious group and for the population as a whole. To allow for politician identity to be correlated with constituency level voter preferences or characteristics that make religion salient, we use quasi-random variation in legislator identity generated by close elections between Muslim and non-Muslim candidates. We find that increasing the political representation of Muslims improves health and education outcomes in the district from which the legislator is elected. We find no evidence of religious favoritism: Muslim children do not benefit more from Muslim political representation than children from other religious groups.
September 2008The Cost of Property Rights: Establishing Institutions on the Philippine Frontier Under American Rule, 1898-1918
with Noel Maurer: w14298
We examine three reforms to property rights introduced by the United States in the Philippines in the early 20th century: the redistribution of large estates to their tenants, the creation of a system of secure land titles, and a homestead program to encourage cultivation of public lands. During the first phase of American occupation (1898-1918), we find that the progress of implementing these reforms was very slow. As a consequence, tenure insecurity increased over this period, and the distribution of farm sizes remained extremely unequal. We identify two primary causes for the slow progress of reform: first, the high cost of implementing these programs was a major factor in reducing take-up. On the other hand, the government was reluctant to evict delinquent or informal cultivators, espe...
February 2007Public Action for Public Goods
with Abhijit Banerjee, Rohini Somanathan: w12911
This paper focuses on the relationship between public action and access to public goods. It begins by developing a simple model of collective action which is intended to capture the various mechanisms that are discussed in the theoretical literature on collective action. We argue that several of these intuitive theoretical arguments rely on special additional assumptions that are often not made clear. We then review the empirical work based on the predictions of these models of collective action. While the available evidence is generally consistent with these theories, there is a dearth of quality evidence. Moreover, a large part of the variation in access to public goods seems to have nothing to do with the "bottom-up" forces highlighted in these models and instead reflect more "top-dow...

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