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Author ORCID Identifier
Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Econometrics | Growth and Development | Labor Economics
My dissertation focuses on understanding how economic, social, and demographic institutions shape women's unpaid work and labour market outcomes in India. My first essay uses unique Indian data on time use to delve into why maternal employment is higher in rural than in urban India. I show that the temporal and spatial flexibility of rural paid employment is much greater, making it easier for mothers to accommodate childcare responsibilities. This essay approaches the interdisciplinary literature on maternal role incompatibility with a novel focus on issues of timing, joint production, and supervisory childcare in shaping employment constraints.
My second essay combines cross-sectional and panel data to estimate the effect of children on women’s wages in India. Despite a growing number of studies emphasizing the role of parenthood as central to gender wage inequality in wealthy countries, dynamics in developing countries are poorly understood. I provide the first estimates of the effect of children on women and men’s wages in India, and offer a possible explanation as to why development might have contradictory effects on gender wage inequality. While urban women have better educational and job characteristics than their rural counterparts, it is precisely these characteristics that entail higher wage costs after they bear children.
My third essay pivots to look at regional differences in employment and wages. Why is the gender wage gap lower in northern than in southern states of India, despite comparable or higher measures of gender equality in the south? I develop a model of social norms that stigmatize women’s wage work and generate lower rates of female participation in the north compared to the south, particularly among less educated women who do not have access to white-collar work. Resulting selection effects on wages help explain why urban gender wage gaps are significantly lower in the north.
Gautham, Leila, "Essays on Unpaid Care and Gender Inequality in India" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations. 2468.