Essays on the Economics of Public Sector Recruitment in India
CitationMangal, Kunal. 2021. Essays on the Economics of Public Sector Recruitment in India. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation compiles three essays that study how the institution of exam-based civil service recruitment in India interacts with the rest of the labor market. In the first chapter, I ask whether the intense competition for civil service jobs affects aggregate labor supply. To answer this question, I study the impact of a civil service hiring freeze in the state of Tamil Nadu. I find that candidates responded by spending more time studying, not less. A decade after the hiring freeze was lifted, the cohorts that were most impacted also have lower earnings, suggesting that participation in the exam process did not build human capital. Finally, I provide evidence that structural features of the testing environment--such as how well candidates are able to forecast their own performance, and the underlying returns to study effort--help explain the observed response. In the second chapter, I use a structural model to estimate how much candidates must value civil service jobs in order to rationalize their exam preparation behavior. Based on data I collected from candidates in Pune, Maharashtra, I estimate total compensation to be worth several times the nominal wage, which suggests that candidates derive most of their value from non-wage amenities. Finally, in the last chapter, Niharika Singh and I study why women remain underrepresented in civil service posts. Using data from Tamil Nadu, we show that test re-taking is a key constraint for women: successful candidates require multiple attempts, but women--particularly those that score well on initial attempts--are less likely to retake the exam than men. We provide suggestive evidence that the pressure to get married constrains high-ability women from making more attempts.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368484
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