My research combines insights from qualitative interviews, statistical analysis and social networks concepts to understand how social interactions impact individuals' and households' economic decision-making. I am interested in how physical and social spaces shape interpersonal exchanges around material goods and economic expenditures.
My dissertation explores how different types of social ties in contemporary rural India influence households’ health-related economic investments, specifically household sanitation facilities. Increasing sanitation coverage is key to reducing the second leading cause of child mortality globally, diarrheal disease. Through analyzing rural Indians’ social experiences and decisions to install sanitation facilities using multiple methods and data sources, my dissertation considers how the distinct ties that compose individuals’ social networks exert different, and at times conflicting, influences. Specifically, I draw on large-scale household surveys, social network data of rural Indian villages, and qualitative interviews that I conducted in rural Tamil Nadu. My findings highlight the importance of both kinship networks, as well as (caste-based) neighborhood ties. I find that through these distinct ties individuals experience different and sometimes conflicting pressures regarding sanitation construction, as well as other housing investments.
My research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, SEED, SCID, Stanford VPGE and a Digital Humanities - Asia/Mellon PhD Fellowship.
In Fall 2018, I will join Columbia University's INCITE as a Postdoctoral Researcher on the REALM Project.