My research interest lies in the field of development microeconomics. I am empirically investigating methods for enhancing women’s empowerment and narrowing the gender gap in various areas in developing countries. My previous research topics include child marriage (generally defined as marriage before the age of 18 years), skewed sex ratio, and the gender gaps in educational and the labor market.
I designed and supervised household surveys of Pakistan and Bangladesh and collected rich information concerning marriage practices including item-wise and person-wise expected and past amount of dowries and other marital payments, gender relations within the household, and the level of women’s empowerment. I empirically investigated the nature of apparent gender discriminatory practices, including dowry, bride price, and sex-selective abortion, and how these practices possibly function as a protective measure against the lack of sufficient protections for women’s property rights and safety.
Current research projects
My ongoing research can be categorized into three. The first involves collaborative research on child marriage. Our research aims to empirically explore measures that prevent child marriage, using both randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and longitudinal observational data from Sub-Saharan African and South Asian countries where 35% and 29% of girls, respectively, marry before the age of 18 years.
The second category aims to enhance female labor force participation (FLFP) in South Asian countries where the FLFP rate is low, even though FLFP is often considered crucial to alleviating poverty and enhancing women’s empowerment. These studies involve RCTs in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The third category examines the impacts of the COVID-19–induced lockdown in rural Bangladesh, where many households depend on remittances sent by family members who migrated to cities or other countries before the pandemic. So far, we have conducted phone-based surveys immediately after the start of the pandemic.