Job Market Paper

(Received Gerlof Homan Research Scholarship)

Heat, soot and dust: Environmental factors, school attendance and test scores [pdf]

This paper examines the effects of air pollution and temperature on human capital accumulation in a developing-country context. Specifically, I investigate the causal effects of air quality and temperature on student attendance and test scores, using a satellite measure of daily pollution and a novel monthly dataset on school attendance and test scores. The effect of air pollution on health is well-established in other contexts in the economics literature. This analysis builds upon the emerging literature that connects air pollution to human capital accumulation. Given that, air pollution can be potentially endogenous, I exploit exogenous variation in air pollution due to dust coming from neighboring deserts. The results of instrumental variable estimation indicate that increases in air pollution reduce student attendance and lower test scores. Furthermore, high temperatures between 30–38C (86–100.4F) lower test scores, especially math scores.

Working Papers

Can more money get girls into school and keep them there? Effect of cash transfer increase on female education [pdf]

Abstract: Conditional cash transfer programs have been implemented in many developing countries to improve human capital accumulation. Using novel monthly data on school enrollments and attendance in Punjab province in Pakistan, this paper examines the impact of an increase in the cash amount of a female-targeted conditional cash transfer program. In March 2017, the monthly cash transfer increased from $1.31 to $6.57. I find that the increase in cash transfer increased female enrollment by 4.45 percent in 6th grade, and by 3.86 percent in 9th grade. However, there is no effect of the higher cash transfer on the attendance of girls in grades 6–10. The increased cash transfer also had positive spillover effects on the enrollment of boys in middle and high schools in treated districts.

Diversification of cable TV operators into broadband—An investigation of the U.S. cable systems (With Wesley W. Wilson) [pdf]

Abstract: In this paper, we examine the factors that influence the decision of cable TV operators in the U.S. to offer broadband services. Despite efforts at both the federal and the state level to facilitate broadband provision, broadband availability in the U.S. is far from complete, particularly in the rural areas. While there are other broadband technologies in the U.S., such as DSL, fiber, satellite and mobile broadband, cable broadband dominates the broadband market. Using cable firm data, from Warren Publishing’s Television and Cable Factbook, for the year 2003–2016, we investigate the role of demographic factors, firm characteristics and entry costs using dynamic choice model techniques. We find that entry costs are significant. We also find that firms that have a higher channel capacity and own multiple local cable TV companies are more likely to diversify into broadband services. The cable TV operators are more likely to deploy broadband in urban, populated, and high-income areas.

Works in Progress

The effect of in-utero pollution exposure on schooling and child labor outcomes in a developing-country context

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Rossitza B. Wooster, David Banis & Ayesha Khalid (2016). A geographic view of expansion choices by U.S. firms in China. The International Trade Journal, 30(1), 33-58


Burki, A.A., Munir, K., Khan, M.A., Khan, U., Faheem, A., Khalid, A. and Hussain, S.T. (2011). Industrial policy, its spatial aspects and cluster development in Pakistan: a report commissioned by the World Bank and the Ministry of Industries and Production. Islamabad: Government of Pakistan