2019 HRI Seed Grant Recipient – Nishith Prakash


The 2019 HRI Seed Grant has been awarded to Nishith Prakash, Human Rights/Economics, to support his research project, Street Police Patrols and Crime Against Women in Public Space: Experimental Evidence from India.

About the Project

How can gender-based violence (GBV) be prevented? Can increased quantity and quality of police presence help curb GBV? Does improved safety for women change women’s beliefs and choices about mobility and labor force participation? This project aims to answer these questions through a novel policing program in Hyderabad, India. The Safety, Health and Environment (SHE Teams) Program is a hotspots street police patrolling intervention aimed at addressing and deterring GBV. The researchers and Hyderabad City Police have jointly developed a research program that will evaluate the effect of this program. We aim to collect novel, high-frequency measures of GBV in public spaces and subsequently to test the role of increased police presence through patrolling and policing visibility (i.e. uniformed vs undercover officers). Also, we aim to understand if safety impinges women’s economic empowerment by testing the effects of a novel safety program for women on beliefs and choices about mobility and employment.

Additional Team Members: Sofia Amaral (ifo Institute), Girija Borker (World Bank), Nathan Fiala (University of Connecticut), Sutanuka Roy (Australian National University), and Maria Micaela Sviatschi (Princeton University)

About the Awardee

Nishith Prakash joined the University of Connecticut after completing his doctorate at the University of Houston, Texas and working as a post-doctoral research associate at Cornell University from July 2010 till December 2011. He previously held visiting Assistant Professor Positions at Ohio University and Dartmouth College and Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, Yale University, MIT, and Boston University. He will be a Fellow with the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at Harvard Kennedy School during 2019-2020.

He is also a Research Fellow at the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) based at University College London, The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, HiCN Households in Conflict Network, and Member of Insights on Immigration and Development (INSIDE-SPAIN).

Professor Prakash’s primary research interests include development, political economy, public policy, and economics of education. One line of his work focuses on understanding the effects of affirmative action policies in India on labor market outcomes, child labor, and poverty. His other work has examined topics such as the returns to English-language skills, effects of crime on economic growth, and effect of politician quality on economic outcomes in India. His recent works include interventions to reduce gender gaps in education using large randomized control trials (RCTs) in Zambia and evaluation of various government policies in India.

Through his academic pursuit, he has focused on the relationship between government policies and economic development and harnessed rigorous empirical evidence to study the impact of policies and institutions in enabling inclusive growth. He has experience in conducting surveys, running large-scale randomized control trials (RCTs) in developing countries and working with large-scale observational and administrative data sets.

Professor Prakash’s research has been published in the top economics journal, including the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics and Journal of Development Economics. His works has also been published in interdisciplinary journals including World Development, Feminist Economics, and Journal of Human Rights.

Professor Prakash’s research has been covered in The Economist, World Bank Development Impact Blog, World Economic Forum, The Atlantic, The Hindu, The Times of India, The Financial Time, The Statesman, The Economic Times and other national and international newspaper.