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Nishith Prakash
University of Connecticut
nishith.prakash@uconn.edu
Nishith Prakash is an assistant professor of economics on a joint position with the Department of Economics and the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

Born and raised in Bihar, India, he earned M.A. in economics from Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University (India), and a Ph.D. in economics from University of Houston, TX and was a post-doctoral research associate at Cornell University. He is a Research Fellow at Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), and Member of Insights on Immigration and Development (INSIDE-SPAIN).

Prof. Prakash’s primary research interests include development, labor, public policy, and health economics. One line of his work focuses on understanding the effects of affirmative action policies in India on labor market outcomes, child labor and poverty. His other work has examined topics such as the returns to English-language skills in India, effects of corruption, nutrition and child development in India, and evaluation of welfare and behavioral impacts of Index Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) in Kenya. Prof. Prakash’s research uses experimental and quasi-experimental econometric techniques to obtain estimates with causal interpretations.
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Articles By Nishith Prakash
Criminally accused politicians and economic outcomes
Posted On: 15 Jan 2016


Despite a history of widely contested and transparent elections, and presence of vibrant and open media, an increasing number of criminally accused politicians are being elected in India. Based on an analysis of elections to State Legislative Assemblies during 2004-2008 in 20 states, this column finds that electing a politician accused of a serious or financial crime adversely affects economic growth and public service delivery in the constituency.
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Bihar’s alcohol ban: Prudent policy or tail-chasing?
Posted On: 21 Dec 2015


Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to implement prohibition in the state from 1 April 2016 is based on the rationale that alcohol consumption is the primary reason for violence against women. In this article, Kumar and Prakash argue that a blanket ban on alcohol won’t stem violence against women – but making alcohol costlier may help.
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Does it pay to speak English in India?
Posted On: 20 Sep 2013

Topics:   Jobs
Tags:   wages

There is a widely held belief that there are sizeable economic returns to English-language skills in India. This column seeks to estimate the wage returns to English skills in India. It is found that being fluent in English increases the hourly wages of men by 34% and of women by 22%. But the effects vary. Returns are higher for older and more educated workers and lower for less educated, younger workers, suggesting that the complementarity between English skills and education appears to have strengthened over time.
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Political reservation in India: The effect on poverty
Posted On: 10 Dec 2012


Over the last 60 years, India’s Constitution has set aside seats in parliament for people from historically discriminated groups, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. This column documents one of the first studies to quantify the effects of this policy on poverty. It finds that while more politicians from Scheduled Tribes help to reduce poverty, politicians from Scheduled Castes have no overall effect.
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Education in Bihar: Still a long road ahead
Posted On: 07 Sep 2012

Topics:   Education

In the north Indian state of Bihar, education has been improving faster than in the rest of the country. But as this column reminds us, Bihar is starting from the bottom. For education to continue to improve, Bihar needs to universally provide drinking water facilities, separate toilets for girls in schools, and more teachers and classrooms per student.
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