Jha, R., Nagarajan, HK, and Tagat, A. (2019). Restricted and Unrestricted Fiscal Grants and Tax Effort of Panchayats in India. Economic and Political Weekly, 54(32), 68-75. Retrieved from https://www.epw.in/journal/2019/32/special-articles/restricted-and-unrestricted-fiscal-grants-and-tax.html
The impact of restricted and unrestricted fiscal grants on tax effort of panchayats is examined using nationally representative panel data on finances. Three pathways are proposed through which these impacts accrue: wages, profits, and incentives. In order to deal with the simultaneities of grants received and taxation, a system of equations is estimated simultaneously, where the first stage equations predict the grants. The results show that a wage impact on taxation exists, but is very small and the productivity impact of grants on taxes is negligible. This means that incentive effects associated with the specifics of the intergovernmental fiscal system in the states are the main determinant of village taxation. Several policy conclusions are advanced.
Tagat, A. & Kapoor, H. (2018). "Sacred Nudging" and Sanitation Decisions in India. India Review 17(3), 301-319. doi:10.1080/14736489.2018.1473320
Sanitation policies in India have primarily focused on infrastructure development, through building latrines and toilets. Given the persistence of open defecation in India despite such efforts, emphases on behavioral change interventions are crucial. We explore why and how the dual nature of purity and degradation in public and private spaces is relevant to such problems. In the context of sanitation and health policies in India, we propose an intervention that exploits social norms associated with purity via the use of religious imagery in public spaces as a deterrent for unhygienic sanitation behaviors. This intervention falls within the framework of nudging, which has received great emphasis in recent policy discussions. In the absence of empirical data on the intervention, this paper takes into account considerations of ethics, implications, cost, and scalability; suggestions on implementing the intervention at various levels of government are provided keeping in mind India’s socio-cultural context.
Tagat, A. & Kapoor, H. (2017). The trust broker game: a three-player trust game with probabilistic returns and information asymmetry. Economics Discussion Papers, No 2017-33, Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Available at http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/discussionpapers/2017-33/file
This paper experimentally investigates trust and trustworthiness in a repeated and sequential three-player trust game with probabilistic returns and information asymmetry. It adds to the existing literature by combining experimental features from recent work in the trust game. We use random variations in the multiplier value, a third player without an initial endowment, undisclosed termination rules, and variations in information availability related to transactions. Our framework is novel in that the game continues even if the first player transfers no amount to the second player. Using participants from India, the results are broadly consistent with past evidence on the trust game. All players are more trusting when information of their transfers and earnings are made available to other players. The third player (termed the "trust broker") transfers a larger amount when information on transfers is disclosed to other players. We find that information availability leads to a significant increase in the trust broker’s reciprocity, as defined by the amount that is returned to Player 2. Social desirability, cultural contexts, and learning effects are discussed in terms of scope for future research.
Kulkarni, S., Tagat, A., & Kapoor, H. (2016). An experimental investigation of intra-household resource allocation in rural India. Partnership for Economic Policy working paper series no. 2016-20. Nairobi, Kenya: PEP. Available at: https://www.pep-net.org/working-papers
This study aims to investigate intra-household bargaining outcomes elicited in an artefactual field experiment design where participants completed a purchase task of real commodities. Married couples separately expressed their initial preferences over commodities. The bargaining process in the experiment was exogenously introduced by sharing information about partners’ preferences in the treatment group. We hypothesized that the spouse with weaker bargaining position at the household level would consider the information of their partner’s preferences while making own consumption decisions more compared to their partner. Therefore, they may deviate from their own preferences when purchasing commodities. More than 230 married couples from two villages in the Tamil Nadu state of India participated in the experiment. It was observed that information about partners’ spending preferences resulted in reduced final allocations for female participants. However, the deviation was not significantly different from the original intention to spend. Therefore, information about partners’ preferences may not be an effective medium to elicit bargaining power in the context of jointly-consumed household commodities. Subgroup analyses were performed to identify any heterogeneous treatment effects.
Borooah, V. K., & Tagat, A. (2016). Political participation in rural India: A village-level study. In N. Schofield & G. Caballero (Eds.), State, institutions and democracy: Contributions of political economy. Geneva, Switzerland: Springer International. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-44582-3_7
If countries have a ‘unique selling point’ then India’s must surely be that, with over 700 million voters, it is the world’s largest democracy. Allied to this is the enthusiasm with which Indians have embraced the electoral process. The turnout in Indian national elections has been over 62% in 10 of the last 15 national elections with 66% of eligible voters voting the 2014 Lok Sabha (Parliamentary) elections; the last time that a US Presidential election came close to matching this was the 60% turnout in the 1968 election between Nixon and Humphrey. Against this backdrop, this paper uses village level data for India on individual voters to ask what are the factors which determine the probability of whether an individual votes? Is this probability greater for national compared to local elections? And is there evidence that people are more likely to vote today than they were in the past? Allied to these questions is another set of questions relating to the choice of candidates. What are the factors that make for women’s autonomy in voting, meaning that they voted without reference to their spouses’ instructions? What are the factors which contribute to people voting for candidates who are of their own caste that is, ‘group identity’ voting? And, lastly, what are the factors which contribute to people voting for candidates who have a reputation for honesty and fairness?
Borooah, V. K., & Tagat, A. (2015). Political participation in rural India: a village-level study. Paper presented at IV International Conference on Political Economy and Institutions (ICOPEAI 2015), Baiona, Spain. Vigo: ERENEA.
Tagat, A. (2019, July 15). Opinion: India's cautious adoption of behavioural economics. Livemint. Retrieved from:
George, N. (2019, March 10). Rich State Poor State: Alternative Solutions Are Needed to Address Divergence.The Wire. Retrieved from
Menon, S., & Tagat, A. (2019, February 21). Social norms keep Indian women out of labour market; focus on behaviour change, non-cognitive skills could bring turnaround. Firstpost. Retrieved from
Tagat, A., & Kapoor, H. (2019, February 8). Talking About the Budget. Pragati. Retrieved from
Tagat, A. (2019, January 4). Impending hazards: The case of farm loan waivers. Livemint. Retrieved from
George, N. (2019, January 3). Can Universal Basic Income Help Create an Equitable Society?. The Wire. Retrieved from https://thewire.in/economy/universal-basic-income-alone-cant-bring-equitability
George, N. (2018, November 6). Understanding Slum Rehabilitation. Pragati. Retrieved from https://www.thinkpragati.com/think/6104/understanding-slum-rehabilitation/
Tagat, A. (2018, October 19). A game theory take on sexual harassment. Livemint. Retrieved from https://www.livemint.com/Opinion/utOFEQrsE2XT2QQlsfw9yI/Opinion--A-game-theory-take-on-sexual-harassment.html
Nair, A. (2018, October 17). The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Movie- Plan Problem. Pragati. Retrieved from https://www.thinkpragati.com/housefull-home/housefull/5898/the-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-movie-plan-problem/
George, N. (2018, September 5). How To Reform Our Cities. Pragati. Retrieved from https://www.thinkpragati.com/opinion/5476/how-to-reform-our-cities/
Misra, P. & Tagat, A. (2018, August 14). War and peace in economics. Pragati. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/MvQYVY
Tagat. A. (2018, July 27). Gotta do it all: Looking back at two years of Pokemon Go and its future. Firstpost. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2mU5Chi
Tagat, A. (2018, July 10). Economic preferences across states in India. Livemint. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2updVEY
Tagat, A. (2018, February 14). Improving tax compliance in India. HT Mint. Retrieved from http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/0iPxGGQ2A0NlWS7ECxfL0M/Improving-tax-compliance-in-India.html
Chandy, D. (2017, November 22). Hollywood and the LGBT community: What the Russo Test tells us about award-winning films. Firstpost. Retrieved from http://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/hollywood-and-the-lgbt-community-what-the-russo-test-tells-us-about-award-winning-films-4222631.html
Tagat, A. (2017, October 11). Nudging economics forward: The Richard Thaler way. HT Mint, p. 19. Retrieved from http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/vHIslxuXUWkfcivec0l5TK/Nudging-economics-forward-the-Richard-Thaler-way.html
Tagat, A. (2017, July 16). The endurance of Pokémon Go. Mint on Sunday. Retrieved from http://www.livemint.com/Sundayapp/6w7V1ygo7aYuannyLkGgxM/The-endurance-of-Pokmon-Go.html
Tagat, A. & Kapoor, H. (2017, February 16). This government puts its money where its mouth is. HT Mint, p. 17. Retrieved from http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/vbAnMLTDYB4MjS926Rg7DP/This-government-puts-its-money-where-its-mouth-is.html
Tagat, A. & Kapoor, H. (2017, January 24). MGNREGS and changing household decision-making: How the scheme has led to women empowerment. Firstpost. Retrieved from http://www.firstpost.com/business/mgnregs-and-changing-household-decision-making-how-the-scheme-has-led-to-women-empowerment-3217514.html
Mahajan, K. (2016, December 28). Demonetisation alone won't stop black money in political funding; electoral reform needed. Firstpost. Retrieved from http://www.firstpost.com/politics/demonetisation-alone-wont-stop-black-money-in-political-funding-electoral-reform-needed-3177106.html
Tagat, A. (2016, July 24). Behavioural science and Pokemon Go. Mint on Sunday. Retrieved from http://www.livemint.com/Sundayapp/RTNl9tnGLItwwLU4LuvRAN/Behavioural-science-and-Pokmon-Go.html
Menon, S., & Tagat, A. (2016, March 8). Nudging India forward: Setting up a nudge unit. Mint. Retrieved from http://www.livemint.com/Politics/nlDZwTwdUE1nZqPRxORHeJ/Nudging-India-forward-Setting-up-a-nudge-unit.html
Tagat, A., & Kapoor, H. (2016, March 1). Jaitley's budget speech: Which words used more, which ones left out? [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://swarajyamag.com/economy/jaitleys-budget-speech-which-words-used-more-which-ones-left-out
Rao, S., & Tagat, A. (2016, February 23). Nudging India forward: The case for a nudge unit in India. Mint. Retrieved from http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/bjzB67qBSiPHgw67szrhvL/Nudging-India-forward-The-case-for-a-nudge-unit-In-India.html
Rao, S., & Tagat, A. (2016, February 17). India's nudge unit: An idea whose time has come. Mint. Retrieved from http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/DAzJfdnfgHFOXdKWPI68QM/Indias-nudge-unit-An-idea-whose-time-has-come.html
Kapoor, H., & Tagat, A. (2015, December 20). Bigg Boss: Television's biggest social experiment? Mint on Sunday.
Tagat, V. & Tagat, A. (2015, June 2). How do we fund our farmer producer organisations? [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://swarajyamag.com/economy/how-do-we-fund-our-farmer-producer-organizations/
Tagat, A., & Kapoor, H. (2015, May 7). The budget speech: What does it really say [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://swarajyamag.com/economy/the-budget-speech-what-does-it-really-say/
Tagat, A. (2014, November 6). Jugaad: The state of published research in India [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://swarajyamag.com/featured/jugaad-the-state-of-published-research-in-india/