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Sonia Bhalotra | Ideas for India

Sonia Bhalotra
University of Essex
srbhal@essex.ac.uk
Sonia Bhalotra is Professor of Economics at the University of Essex in the UK. Her research is centred upon the creation of human capital. She has active research programmes on the long run benefits of childhood health interventions, educational reform, conflict, the political economy of public service delivery, intergenerational transmission of human capital and poverty, and the dynamics of mortality, fertility and sex selection. Her research on India includes papers on political identity, infant mortality, and Hindu-Muslim differences (in political preferences, son preference, health and education). Sonia’s earlier research concerned child labour and the labour market impacts of economic liberalisation in India. She is currently also analysing cross-country micro-macro data for developing countries and historical data from America, Norway, Denmark and Sweden with the purpose of addressing contemporary policy problems in India and other relatively poor countries.

She holds an M.Phil. and a D.Phil. from Oxford and a B.Sc. from Delhi. She has, for several years, been on the Senior Management Team of the Centre for Market and Public Organisation and the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research, both in Bristol. Her current membership of scientific committees includes the Council of the European Society of Population Economics, the International Review Panel of the Danish Council for Independent Research, the Advisory Board of Academics Stand Against Poverty (Yale), the International Scientific Advisory Board of the Centre for Modern Indian Studies in Gottingen University, the British Academy Area Panel for South Asia, the Assessment Panel for the ESRC Future Research Leaders Scheme and the ESRC Peer Review College. She is a Research Fellow at IZA, CHILD, CSAE and QEH. She has contributed policy relevant research to several international organisations. 

Articles By Sonia Bhalotra
How female foeticide has influenced fertility and parental investments in girls
Posted On: 11 Sep 2017

Topics:   Gender

The introduction of ultrasound technology in India has been documented to have led to a phenomenal increase in abortion of female fetuses. However, this column finds that it also decreased son-biased fertility stopping, narrowed gender gaps in breastfeeding and immunisation, and improved the survival chances of girls.
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Maternal mortality and gender prejudice
Posted On: 22 Feb 2016

Topics:   Gender , Health

While maternal mortality has fallen sharply in the last decade, it remains unnecessarily high at about 800 deaths a day worldwide. Moreover, there is enormous variation in levels and rates of decline across countries, even after accounting for differences in income. This column discusses new evidence showing that gender prejudice explains a significant part of this variation.
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Role model effects? Women’s political participation in India
Posted On: 14 Sep 2015


Women’s political candidacy in India is very low and appears to be an important barrier to their representation in government. Does a deficiency of female role models hold back women’s candidacy? Analysing data from state elections during 1980-2007 in India, this column reports no entry of new women candidates following a woman’s electoral victory, and a decline in entry in states with an entrenched gender bias.
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Infant mortality in times of recession
Posted On: 30 Jan 2013


Can recessions have permanent effects on people’s health in developing countries? This column looks at infant mortality in India and finds that recessions make things worse. The paradox is that this is often because women are working more, which in isolation is something to be welcomed. It calls for a balance to be struck between empowering mothers and protecting the most vulnerable.
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Like parent, like child: Health transmission in developing countries
Posted On: 28 Jan 2013

Topics:   Gender , Health

To what extent is children’s health determined by their mothers’ health? This column analyses three decades’ worth of data on over two million children across 38 developing countries to explore how health is transmitted across generations – and how public policy can respond.
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Where have all the young girls gone? The rise in female foeticide in India
Posted On: 07 Nov 2012

Topics:   Gender , Health

Gender inequality remains a huge issue in India and policies aimed at changing this are welcome. But this column finds that an unintended consequence of the introduction and spread of ultrasound scans in India is the abortion of female foetuses on an unprecedented scale.
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