Doctoral dissertations

  • Réseaux interpersonnels et trajectoires d’emploi individuelles dans les zones rurales d’Inde du Sud
  • Quatre essais sur le genre en Inde
  • Debt, Labour, and Cognition: Microeconomic Interactions in Rural South India.
  • Gender and Debt, Past and Present: Financing Social Reproduction.
  • Cognitive and non-cognitive skills in developing countries.
  • Modernisation, marchés du travail et circulation en Inde : Une approche mixte et multi-scalaire des migrations de travail.

Réseaux interpersonnels et trajectoires d’emploi individuelles dans les zones rurales d’Inde du Sud

—C. Mouchel, (2020 – ongoing).
Paris Cité University, France.


Quatre essais sur le genre en Inde

—M. Di Santolo, (2019 – ongoing).
Paris Dauphine University, France.


Debt, Labour, and Cognition: Microeconomic Interactions in Rural South India

—A. Natal, (2023).
University of Bordeaux, France.
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This thesis examines various aspects of household indebtedness in a rural area of Tamil Nadu, South India. The main objective is twofold. The first is to analyse the effect of household financial vulnerability on labour supply, with particular attention to the measurement of financial vulnerability. The second is to analyse indebtedness at the individual level to apply a behavioural analytical framework by studying the correlation between personality traits, cognitive skills, and indebtedness. This objective is pursued through five essays in development economics. The first chapter provides background on India and presents the first-hand NEEMSIS panel data used throughout this thesis. The second chapter aims to advance research in development microeconomics by proposing a new measure of household financial vulnerability, called the financial vulnerability index, and presenting its main determinants over the decade 2010-2020. The third chapter assesses the effect of financial vulnerability (measured by the financial vulnerability index developed earlier) on household labour supply. The fourth and fifth chapters are devoted to individual behaviour. After detailing the measurement of personality traits using the Big Five taxonomy, the fourth chapter empirically tests the hypothesis of the temporal stability of these traits. Building on the results of the previous chapter, the fifth chapter analyses the contribution of personality traits and cognitive skills to debt use, negotiation, and management.


Gender and Debt, Past and Present: Financing Social Reproduction

—E. Reboul, (2021).
Paris Cité University, France.
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The current interest for women’s access credit in the development field, from the angle of financial exclusion or credit rationing, contrasts with the marginal attention granted to the other face of the coin, debt. Little is known about women’s indebtedness, especially due to a lack of systematic sex-disaggregated data. Innovative data from household survey and Financial Diaries, collected in Tamil Nadu, South India, show here that despite their restricted access to property and meagre incomes, poor women often are actively involved in credit relations, prominently via informal transactions aside microcredit, and tend to be much more deeply indebted than men relatively their incomes. Taking into account women’s financial practices can radically alter the picture of their contribution to household reproduction suggested by their incomes. They get into debt by large, and more so than men, to ensure daily survival – but also to repay debts, whose management appears frequently as a female responsibility. Debt is in the Tamil context structured by gender (alongside caste and class) as a system of distribution of entitlements and responsibilities, but also as a system of meaning. This affects how, why and by whom debts are contracted, how they are repaid, and at which costs. These results are replaced into a broader perspective interrogating their peculiarities, via a detour through the European past: in early modern France and England, and in Victorian and Edwardian England. These literature reviews highlight in particular how social reproduction has historically been sustained by specific forms of debt, part of which – and sometimes most of which – contracted by women.


Cognitive and non-cognitive skills in developing countries

—A. Hilger, (2018).
Paris Sciences et Lettres University (PSL), France.
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This dissertation examines the role that cognitive and non-cognitive skills play in developing countries along three axes: measurement of these skills, wage returns to them, and as determinants of levels of trust. The first chapter uses panel data from two cohorts of a skills training program in Mozambique to contrast two types of skill measurement: self-assessments and observational exercises. The chapter shows that self-assessments capture underlying traits, while observational exercises are better suited for program evaluations. The second chapter is based on a novel matched employer-employee data set representing the formal sector in Bangladesh and provides evidence of both the relative importance of cognitive and non-cognitive skills in this part of the labor market and the interplay between skills and hiring channels in determining wages. Results demonstrate positive returns to non-cognitive skills, varying by hiring channel. This chapter also offers suggestive evidence that employers might use hiring channels differently, depending on which skills they deem important. The third chapter makes use of the demonetization policy of November 2016 in India and a newly collected data set to causally identify the determinants of trust in a rural setting, controlling for a variety of individual characteristics, such as non-cognitive skills and cognitive ability, that could influence network formation and trust. We find that social interactions determine trust, though this result holds only among men and varies along the lines of caste membership.


Modernisation, marchés du travail et circulation en Inde : Une approche mixte et multi-scalaire des migrations de travail

—S. Michiels, (2016).
University of Bordeaux, France.
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Le processus de libéralisation initié en Inde à partir des années 1980 s’est accompagné d’une multitudede changements économiques, politiques et sociaux qui ont participé à modifier l’organisation et lastructure de l’emploi. Ces changements structurels ont par ailleurs redessiné les pratiques migratoiresau gré des besoins de main-d’oeuvre. L’objet de ces travaux de recherche est d’étudier comment lastructuration des marchés du travail en Inde a participé à modifier les flux de migrations internes, maiségalement de s’intéresser à l’évolution de ces pratiques migratoires. Pour cela, nous proposons uneapproche multi-scalaire des liens entre marchés de l’emploi et mouvements migratoires, menéeconjointement à des niveaux micro et macro. Ainsi, après avoir effectué une revue de littérature desthéories migratoires, nous traitons dans une première partie les liens entre marché du travail etmigration de travail au niveau macro-économique. Pour cela, nous avons identifié pour les différentesrégions de l’Inde une typologie des marchés du travail à partir de laquelle les flux de migrations ontété spatialisés. Dans une seconde partie, le niveau micro a été privilégié et les résultats présentéss’appuient sur un travail de terrain mené entre 2010 et 2014 dans le Sud de l’Inde (Tamil Nadu). Ils’agit, à partir d’une approche mixte combinant des méthodes quantitatives et qualitatives, d’étudier lacirculation du travail en milieu rural tamoul. Cette démarche nous a permis d’identifier une variété deformes de migrations de travail aux logiques singulières ; nous parlons alors de diversification depratiques migratoires.

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