Pushkar Maitra
Monash University
Professor Pushkar Maitra’s primary research areas are Development Economics, Population Economics, Experimental Economics and Applied Econometrics. A large part of his research has tried to quantify the impact of institutions on both individuals and households. His current research focuses on evaluating alternative methods of providing credit to the rural poor and the effects of labour market training programmes. His current research is often experimental in nature and/or involves the rigorous econometric analysis of large data sets. Professor Maitra has also been involved in survey work: he was the chief investigator for a survey of migrants and networks in Cape Town South Africa and currently for a survey of agricultural productivity in West Bengal, India and on labour market outcomes of women in New Delhi, India. 

Articles By Pushkar Maitra
Whither female disadvantage? An analysis of private school enrolment in India
Posted On: 07 Oct 2016

Topics:   Gender

Given the poor condition of government schools and the perceived efficiency of private schools, Indian parents are increasingly choosing to send their children to private schools. This column examines private school enrolment among 7-18 year olds during 2005-2012 and finds a systematic and pervasive female disadvantage.
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The growing problem of excess weight in India
Posted On: 27 Jun 2016

Topics:   Health

The Indian population is increasingly becoming overweight or obese, and this phenomenon is likely to impose a considerable health burden in the future. Analysing data from the Indian Human Development Survey, this column finds that obesity is more evident among affluent, well-educated, urban groups, especially adult women. Increasing incomes and sedentary lifestyles are key contributing factors.
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Citizens’ trust in local politicians and implications for good governance
Posted On: 10 Jun 2015

Topics:   Political Economy

The new state of Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh in June 2014, after a prolonged movement by the people of Telangana region for a separate state. Based on field experiments among citizens in the two successor states, this column finds greater trust in politicians in Andhra relative to Telangana, which may facilitate effective functioning of the State and signal citizens’ expectations from the government.
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Women leaders and deceptive behaviour
Posted On: 29 Jan 2015

Are women in leadership positions more dishonest than men? Based on an artefactual field experiment in rural Bihar, this column finds that women in leadership positions deceive more than men, especially in villages that have previously experienced a female village chief. It suggests that simply reserving seats in village councils for women may not necessarily lead to better outcomes for villagers or women.
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Financial inclusion for agricultural growth: An alternative approach
Posted On: 08 Dec 2014

Traditional, group-based microcredit has had limited success at enabling farmers to expand the cultivation of risky but profitable cash crops. Evidence suggests that this is mainly because of its mechanisms for borrower selection and enforcement of repayment. This column proposes a new approach that leverages local intermediaries and aligns their incentives with farmer profits, to generate better outcomes for agricultural production and incomes.
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Religion, minority status and trust
Posted On: 14 May 2014

Topics:   Conflict

A key factor that drives segmentation in societies is group identities along various dimensions. This column seeks to understand the effects of identity on individual behaviour. Based on an artefactual field experiment on Hindus and Muslims in India and Bangladesh, it finds that it is minority/ majority status based on religion, rather than religion in itself, that dictates trust behaviour of individuals.
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Choosing to be trained: Behavioural restrictions on participation decisions
Posted On: 02 Sep 2013

Topics:   Jobs
Tags:   training

Widespread unemployment has prompted policymakers to consider introduction of various training programmes that can help workers accumulate additional skills to obtain new jobs and/ or retain current ones. However, these programmes can only help if targeted individuals take up such opportunities. This column argues that participation in short-term skill-building courses is not just limited by economic factors but is also influenced by intrinsic characteristics such as attitudes towards risk and competition.
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Vocational education: A means to an end?
Posted On: 15 Jul 2013

Topics:   Jobs
Tags:   training

Youth underemployment, especially among less educated populations perpetuates poverty. Despite the importance of youth unemployment, there is little knowledge on how to create smooth school-to-work transition and or how to improve the human capital of those who can no longer be sent back to school. This column presents evidence supporting positive returns from having access to and completing a vocational training course for women residing in low-income households in New Delhi.
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Child malnutrition in India and what can be done about it
Posted On: 15 Oct 2012

While many things are getting better in India, the disturbing levels of child malnutrition are hardly changing. This column explores why and asks what can be done. It calls for more conditional cash transfers to poor rural families and better education on how to feed their children.
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