Bank Presence and Health

JOB MARKET PAPER

Paper link

Alternative link (SSRN)

Winner of the CEPR Household Finance PhD Student Prize (discussant: Emily Breza, Harvard), Chazen Research Grant,

Bernstein Center Research Grant, and Columbia Business School Best PhD Paper Award

I use a policy of the Reserve Bank of India from 2005 that incentivizes banks to set up new branches in underbanked districts, defined as having a population-to-branch ratio larger than the national average. In a regression discontinuity design, I compare households in districts just above and just below the national average. Six years after the policy introduction, households in treatment districts are a third less likely to be affected by an illness in a month. They miss fewer days of work or school due to an illness and have lower medical expenses. Ten years after the policy was introduced, I observe persistently lower morbidity rates, higher vaccination rates, and lower risks associated with pregnancies. I provide evidence that two previously understudied aspects of banking played a role: households gain access to health insurance and health care providers gain access to credit. In equilibrium, I observe an increase in health care demand and supply.

Presented at:

AFA Poster Session (scheduled), Applied Young Economist Webinar (AYEW), Columbia Development Colloquium, Columbia Finance Seminar, CEPR European Conference on Household Finance, Columbia PhD Finance Seminar, Development and Political Econ SF Bay Area PhD Student Conference (DevPEC), European Finance Association (EFA) Doctoral Tutorial, IIM    Calcutta - NYU Stern India Research Conference, International Conference on Globalization and Development (GlaD), Macro Finance Society Workshop PhD Session, North East Universities Development Consortium (NEUDC), Transatlantic Doctoral Conference (LBS), Universitat Pompeu Fabra Internal Applied Econ Seminar, Webinar Series in Finance and Development (WEFIDEV)

Slides (20min presentation)

Upcoming media coverage:

World Bank All About Finance Blog 

Ideas of India Podcast

Video of my JMP in 6min

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Essential Graphs

Underbanked districts in India

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Histogram of district population-to-branch ratio

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Comparison of underbanked and banked districts

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Dynamics of branch opening correspond to policy

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Morbidity rate decreases

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Households gain access to health insurance