Sabareesh Ramachandran

I am pursuing a PhD in Economics at UC San Diego. I study how governments in developing countries can improve outcomes for their citizens through public programs. I study the urban poor in developing countries, their pathways out of poverty, and the role of public programs in this.

I will be a post-doc at Development Innovation Lab at UChicago in 2024-25. I will be starting as an Assistant Professor at Indian School of Business, Hyderabad in 2025.

I was previously at JPAL South Asia, London School of Economics, and IISc, Bangalore.

Here is a link to my CV. 

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Job Market Paper

Impact and Incidence of Housing Subsidies in Urban Slums: Evidence from India


Abstract: Improving housing conditions in urban slums is a key challenge for all developing countries. Public programs to move slum dwellers into formal houses often require them to give up their existing house, and make complementary financial investments to receive the benefits. These participation costs or "ordeals" make the incidence and impact of the program ambiguous. In this paper I study the incidence and impact of India's flagship house construction grant costing 2% of the annual budget. Despite the need for complementary investments, I show that the incidence of the program is progressive. This is driven by the self-selection into the program of those with worse houses. The grant has a significant causal impact on a house quality index, driven by a 60pp increase in probability of having a concrete roof. However, I rule out large impacts on other dimensions of house quality. I provide a theoretical framework and show that the program take up rate is a sufficient statistic for the welfare benefit of the grant. The optimal policy parameters need to account for selection into the program at different benefit levels and the total deadweight loss.