Job Market Paper
Can Schools Teach Innovation? Experimental Evidence from India (Manuscript here)
Innovation plays a pivotal role in fostering economic growth, yet there is a limited understanding of whether it can be taught. I conduct a randomized evaluation of an education program implemented by a state government and a nonprofit organization, providing an opportunity to 6,224 8th-grade students from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop frugal innovations for global and local problems. To assess students' innovative ability, I created a novel scale with inputs from experienced inventors and used a lab-in-the-field game from experimental economics. The program consistently has a positive impact on students' innovative ability, as demonstrated by improvements on both the novel scale (0.20 standard deviations) and in a lab-in-the-field game (0.12 standard deviations). Notably, the ability for innovation is not correlated with academic achievement or IQ. On the contrary, the gains in the ability for innovation came at the expense of interest and performance in math, declining by 0.30 standard deviations and 0.13 standard deviations, respectively. These results have significant implications for governments around the world in their capacity to impart an important higher-order skill in schools that strongly correlates with long-term economic growth.
NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship, 2023-2024
American Association of University Women International Dissertation Fellowship (declined), 2023-2024
Dean's Grant for Student Research 2022-2023, Teachers College
Vice President’s Grant for Student Research in Diversity 2023-2024, Teachers College
Going All In: Simultaneously Breaking Down Barriers for Women in the STEM Workforce
(with Ashutosh Bhuradia)
This research aims to measure the impact of a program for women engineers in India, an 18-month STEM training initiative designed for first-generation women engineering students. Deployed nationwide by an education start-up, the program employs a holistic strategy to overcome multifaceted barriers faced by women in STEM fields. By fostering a women-only environment, providing online accessibility, and emphasizing self-directed learning, the initiative seeks to address cultural, institutional, and psychological challenges hindering women's success in STEM. We aim to evaluate the WE program's efficacy in enhancing participants' technical and higher-order skills, ultimately influencing their labor market outcomes. With an underrepresentation of women in STEM persisting globally, this research contributes valuable insights into designing targeted interventions for breaking down barriers and fostering inclusivity in STEM education and careers.
Funding Support: $75000 from the Digital Harbor Foundation
Do Better Emotional Skills Lead To More Team Productivity?
In the modern economy, the significance of teamwork is on the rise. To explore this aspect, I conducted a cluster randomized control trial, wherein 6226 students were randomly assigned into 1241 teams based on their emotional skills. This stratified randomization ensured that the teams fell into two categories: above average and below average in terms of emotional perceptiveness. The study was conducted within the setting of government secondary schools in India, and the impacts of this arrangement were evaluated across multiple dimensions, including math and science performance, IQ, the Big 5 personality traits, career aspirations, and the structure of students' friendship networks.
Can phones be used for measuring foundational literacy and numeracy? Experimental evidence from India
Funded by: Central Square Foundation
Workshop: Economics and Education Students Colloquium, Teachers College, Columbia University
Awards: Teachers College - The Provost's Grant For Conference Attendance & Presentation, Education Policy and Social Analysis Department Research Grant AY21-22