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Student Affiliates

The 21st Century India Center Doctoral Student Travel Grants Program was established to support UC San Diego graduate students studying in the fields of economics, political science, and science and technology policy. This grant program was designed to catalyze early stage work that can lay the groundwork for significant research in India, paving the way for long-term partnerships and initiatives that enhance the academic landscape at UC San Diego and in India. We invite innovative proposals that embody the interdisciplinary spirit of the 21st Century India Center.

  • Torsha Chakravorty

    Torsha Chakravorty

    Torsha Chakravorty is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Economics. Her research fields include development and applied econometrics. As a research associate at the Indian School of Business, Torsha has worked closely with a State Government in India, on urban governance and productivity of public bureaucrats. She is interested in the design of government welfare programs and the role of private firms in implementing such programs. Another aspect of her research focuses on how students make higher educational choices and consequent labor market outcomes.

    Research Project Title: "Heterogeneity in Bureaucrat Performance & Efficiency Losses in Public Service Delivery"
    In this project, Chakravorty focuses on drivers of heterogeneity in bureaucrat performance in India. She attempts to quantify efficiency losses in public service delivery accruing from such differences, and repeated bureaucrat-citizen interactions. Using administrative data and detailed interviews with bureaucrats to inform sources of inefficiency, she aims to document the role of e-governance in identifying resource misallocation.
  • Aakash Bhalothia

    Aakash Bhalothia

    Aakash Bhalothia is starting his third year as a Ph.D. student in the Economics department at UC San Diego. His research interests are development and labor economics, with a focus on gender, labor market inefficiencies, and migration in India. Before starting his Ph.D., Aakash was a Tobin Predoctoral Fellow at Yale University. He grew up in Delhi and graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in Computer Science and Economics (High Honors).

    Research Project Title: "Unpacking norms related to Female Labor Force participation in India"
    Bhalothia is jointly working on projects with Riccardo Di Cato, aiming to understand the factors that impede female labor force participation, with a specific focus on cultural and social norms. They aim to delve deeper into specific norms in the context of women's employment and gain an understanding of which norms act as binding constraints. They are also interested in the thin markets for household chores and childcare in India, as improving these markets can have large gains for female labor force participation. So far, they have conducted focus groups in rural Jharkhand, in collaboration with the Good Business Lab (GBL). After additional focus groups in urban areas, they plan to design an intervention that improves the functioning of domestic help and childcare services and evaluate if that has a meaningful impact on female labor force participation in India.
  • Riccardo Di Cato

    Riccardo Di Cato

    Research Focus: non-governmental organizations and development, women's employment, historical political economy

    Riccardo Di Cato is a Ph.D. student at the UC San Diego interested in development and political economy. His research focuses on the relationships between NGOs and state capacity, female labor force participation in India, and historical determinants of development and political economy. Prior to starting his Ph.D., Di Cato was a predoctoral fellow at Bocconi University and a research associate for Harvard University in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He holds a Master of Economics from the University of Bologna and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pavia, which included study abroad programs in France and Canada."

    Research Project Title: "Unpacking norms related to Female Labor Force participation in India"
    Di Cato is jointly working on projects with Aakash Bhalothia, aiming to understand the factors that impede female labor force participation, with a specific focus on cultural and social norms. They aim to delve deeper into specific norms in the context of women's employment and gain an understanding of which norms act as binding constraints. They are also interested in the thin markets for household chores and childcare in India, as improving these markets can have large gains for female labor force participation. So far, they have conducted focus groups in rural Jharkhand, in collaboration with the Good Business Lab (GBL). After additional focus groups in urban areas, they plan to design an intervention that improves the functioning of domestic help and childcare services and evaluate if that has a meaningful impact on female labor force participation in India.