I will keep this page updated with my current and past projects.

Current projects

Persistent effects of Colonial Land Tenure Systems: Village-level evidence from India, available at] (Journal of Development Economics)

This paper estimates the causal impact of land revenue institutions on long run rural development using a Geographical Regression Discontinuity framework on a new village level data set from colonial India. An early 19th century historical quirk meant that villages in close geographical proximity were assigned to different property rights systems - some falling under landlords and others under the government. Villages that were assigned to landlords in the colonial era are shown to have lower developmental outcomes into the 21st century, including lower per capita consumption and mean light intensity. This paper provides evidence that a part of this divergence occurred in the colonial period. However, historical differences during the colonial period laid the foundation for greater divergence in the post-independence period, driven primarily by the differing potential to benefit from the Green Revolution.

Risk, uncertainty and development in India and Taiwan, 1900-1939 (with Chung-Tang Cheng & Maanik Nath) (forthcoming, Asia Pacific EHR)

In the first half of the twentieth century, the agricultural sector in colonial Taiwan saw remarkable growth while the equivalent in India stagnated. This paper shows that water access, precipitation patterns and irrigation investments in particular, determined growth potential in both economies.

Agricultural shocks and development in colonial India

I use an original dataset on rainfall variability in colonial India to demonstrate that differing patterns of rainfall volatility and shocks across the Indian subcontinent forced farmers to adopt costly ex-ante and ex-post coping strategies. Results show that downside risk in particular is an important determinant of development outcomes at the end of the colonial period, and that the key mechanism in operation is the effect of monsoons on agricultural incomes.

Other work

The political economy of housing in England, New Political Economy (2017), 22:1, 31-60, available at (with Miguel Coelho & Sebastian Dellepiane-Avellaneda)

Problems of housing affordability have been afflicting parts of the UK, especially the South East of England, for a number of years. The problem is closely related to shortages in housing supply, which are, in turn, largely associated with constraints imposed by the English land planning system.We find that there is a tendency for owner-occupiers to express greater opposition to local house building and that, in the decade to 2011, the housing stock grew significantly less in local authorities with higher proportions of owner-occupiers among local households. The results suggest the risk that planning decisions might have been distorted in favour of current homeowners is real and economically significant. We discuss a range of historical, socio-economic and policy trends that help explain why successive governments of various stripes have been reluctant to address head-on problems in housing supply and put a curb on house prices.

Posted on:
May 5, 2022
3 minute read, 463 words
See Also: