“Technical Change and Gender Wage Inequality: Long-Run Effects from India’s Green Revolution”

Abstract: New technologies can have distributional consequences that narrow or widen existing inequalities.  In this paper, I estimate the effect of India’s Green Revolution on the gender wage gap in village labor markets.  Widely considered the country’s most important episode of agricultural technical change, productivity gains from the Green Revolution were due largely to the introduction of high-yielding variety seeds (HYVs).  Their sensitivity to water conditions advantaged locations with reliable irrigation access, which I exploit by constructing a novel dataset of historical groundwater resources as a source of exogenous variation in Green Revolution adoption.  Using data from 1956-1987 in a difference-in-differences framework, I estimate that groundwater-rich districts experienced large and significant increases in HYV adoption, crop revenues, and cropping intensity. These productivity gains affected labor markets, with male wages rising, but female wages declining, jointly raising the male wage premium an average 17 percent.  Additionally, census and microdata results show women substituted away from wage work, and increased their time in unpaid own-farm and domestic work. These outcomes are most likely driven by the sharp yield gains achieved with wheat HYVs.  As a male labor-biased crop, the expansion of wheat production contributed to declines in female wage labor participation.  These findings document how new technology shocks can generate winners and losers, and offers an example of productivity growth that exacerbated gender inequality.

Selected Publications:

“Recent Weather Fluctuations and Agricultural Yields: Implications for Climate Change.” 2016. Agricultural Economics, 47 (S1), 159.171. (with Wolfram Schlenker)

The Business of Distributed Solar Power: A Comparative Case Study of Centralized Charging Stations and Solar Microgrids.” 2016. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, 5, 640-648. (with Peter D. Lund and Johannes Urpelainen)

Socio-Economic Determinants of Charcoal Expenditure in Tanzania: Evidence from Panel Data.” 2015. Energy Economics, 49, 472-481. (with Johannes Urpelainen and Alice Xu)

Using Satellites to Make Index Insurance Scalable: Final IRI Report to the UN ILO Microinsurance Innovation Facility.” 2014. (with Radost Stanimirova, Helen Greatrex, Rahel Diro, Geoff McCarney, Jessica Sharoff, Bristol Mann, Marshall Rogers-Martinez, Sarah Blakeley, Christopher Small, Pietro Ceccato, Tufa Dinku, Daniel E. Osgood)

Sewing Climate-Resilient Seeds: Implementing Climate Change Adaptation Best Practices in Rural Cambodia.” 2011. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 16 (6), 699-720. (with Benjamin K. Sovacool)

Work in Progress:

“Human Productivity in a Warmer World: The Impact of Climate Change on the Global Workforce” (with Rachel Baker, Tamma Carleton, Timothy Foreman, Michael Greenstone, Solomon Hsiang, Andrew Hultgren, Amir Jina, Matthew Pecenco, and Ashwin Rode)

“Financing Against Failure: Costs and Consequences of Monsoon Anomalies”

“Food Price Shocks and Household Decision-Making”

Working Papers:

“Experimenting with Adaptation: Insights from Games with Cambodian Farmers”

One response to “Research

  1. Hey Anthony,
    I’m really interested in a piece of research you did with Benjamin Sovacool and Jain Bambawale, “The Socio-Technical Barriers to Solar Home Systems (SHS) in Papua New Guinea.” I work for a international development NGO and I’d love to talk with you about possible applications of the study / study methodology in Papua Province, Indonesia.

Comments are closed.