Odyssia Ng
PhD Candidate

Stanford University
Department of Economics
579 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305
odyssia@stanford.edu

“Odyssia

Fields:
Development Economics (Primary), Economics of Gender
Expected Graduation Date:
June 2020
I am available for interviews at the AEA meeting in San Diego.

Curriculum Vitae

Advisors:
Pascaline Dupas (Primary)
pdupas@stanford.edu
Marshall Burke
mburke@stanford.edu
Marcel Fafchamps
fafchamp@stanford.edu


Broadly, my research seeks to determine the root causes of extreme poverty and rigorously evaluate programs that target these causes. Throughout my PhD, my goal has been to produce research that has clear policy implications. My PhD dissertation is a compilation of three papers on the topics of gender and entrepreneurship in developing countries.

Research

Does Gender Matter for Small Business Performance? Experimental Evidence from India [Job Market Paper]
(with Solène Delecourt)
Many well-known studies have shown that female-owned micro-enterprises are less profitable and have lower returns to capital than their male counterparts. This raises an important question: what drives the estimated gender gap in business performance? We examine this question in the context of vegetable sellers in Jaipur, India, a context where observationally women make less than men. We conduct two field experiments that keep every business aspect the same except for the gender of the owner, business aspects such as location, goods supplied, and hours of operation. In Experiment 1, we isolate demand-side constraints by training confederate sellers to sell packaged goods at fixed prices using a standardized script, thereby additionally controlling for seller behavior. In Experiment 2, we only control for supply-side characteristics. In both experiments, we find that women earn at least as much as men. Our results demonstrate that the estimated gender earnings gap in this context is not due to differential demand-side constraints or seller behavior, but instead is likely driven by differences in access to capital.


Do Men Make More, or Report Making More? Measuring Microenterprise Profits in India
(with Solène Delecourt)
It has been well documented that female entrepreneurs make less than their male counterparts, worldwide. However, most studies rely on self-reported measures of profits, which are liable to considerable measurement error. In our ongoing study of vegetable vendors in India, we find suggestive evidence that women under-report revenues and men over-report revenues. How much of the estimated gender profit gap is due to differential reporting by gender? We propose a short field experiment to shed light on this difference and test whether social norms and overconfidence could be driving the reporting gap.


''My Daughter, My Wealth'': The Effects of a Conditional Cash Transfer Aiming to Reduce Child Marriage in India
Child marriage is a driver of extreme poverty and gender inequality, as it contributes to high-risk pregnancies, domestic violence and lower educational attainment for women. Despite being illegal, it is still widespread, which calls for policies that extend beyond the legal realm. In this paper, I estimate the impact of an innovative, large-scale conditional cash transfer, implemented by the government of Haryana in India in 1994, that incentivizes girls to delay marriage. The program is the first to directly condition a cash transfer on marital status, as young women are only eligible if they are unmarried at age 18. I estimate the program's effects on girls' age of marriage, educational attainment and health outcomes by using the National Family Health Survey and the District Level Household and Facility Survey. I employ a difference-in-difference strategy that exploits the scheme's eligibility criteria by comparing women born before and after 1994, in Haryana and in other Northern Indian states. By rigorously estimating the success of this unique program, this study will provide useful policy recommendations to improve and scale up conditional cash transfers targeting young girls in developing countries.