The School of Economics, University of Hyderabad (UoH), successfully organized a special public lecture by Dr. Shreyasee Das (Temple University, Philadelphia, USA) on August 9, 2023 at Room CR2, SSSB, School of Economics. This seminar was coordinated by Professor Phanindra Goyari, Faculty member in the School of Economics.

Dr. Das spoke on the topic ‘Marriage Market Responses in the Wake of a Natural Disaster in India’ with special reference to the 2001 Gujarat earthquake. While speaking on the topic, initially, Dr. Das spoke various issues and socio-economic implications related to marriage market responses in various societies across countries from the existing literature. Marriage is nearly universal with exceedingly high percentage of marriages being family-arranged. There has been a declining educational hypergamy (women marrying men with higher education) and this has been replaced by rising hypogamy (women marrying men with less education). Inter-caste marriages are very rare but patrilocal exogamy is practiced in majority of states in India. Then, she went on to speak on the impact of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake on age at marriage and other assortative matching outcomes. The study used the 2004–05 wave of the India Human Development Survey and employed a difference-in-differences strategy. She found that the earthquake reduced the age at marriage for both men and women and decreased the likelihood of women marrying into wealthier households. Additionally, in the analysis, she found no changes in matching by educational status or in the likelihood of intra-caste and out-of-village marriages. She said that these results are driven by districts that were severely affected by the earthquake in terms of deaths and destructions of properties and facilities. The lecture provided suggestive evidence that the negative economic shock induced by the earthquake pushed parents to marry off their daughters early to save on dowry expenditures. Dr. Das concluded her lecture by showing important highlights on how the institution of marriage can induce long-lasting demographic changes and subsequent impact on socio-economic conditions of affected people directly and other people after a natural disaster in any country.

At the beginning, Prof. R.V. Ramana Murthy, Dean of School of Economics, welcomed the speaker and the audience. The seminar was chaired by Prof. Phanindra Goyari. The seminar ended with a formal vote of thanks by Ms. K. Ragasuriya.

About the speaker: 

Dr. Shreyasee Das is currently an Associate Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA. She has been teaching at Temple University since 2018. Prior to joining Temple University, she was an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, USA. Dr. Das holds a PhD in Economics, an MA in Economics and a B.Sc. in Economics, all from University of Houston, Texas, USA. She has been teaching courses like Applied Microeconomics, Development Economics, Gender Economics, Public Finance, Global Perspectives etc. to master students. Her research works have been published in many top-rated referred journals including Oxford Development Studies, American Economic Review, Review of Development Economics etc. on the broad areas of effects of public policies concerning women’s property rights, marriage markets, water rights, education etc. Besides teaching and research, Dr. Das loves to dance. She learned Kuchipudi and Odissi, and also taught Bollywood dances. She can speak six languages (English, Hindi, Telugu, Bengali, French and Marathi).

–Compiled by: Raghavendra Kushawaha with photo credits of Madhu Kalyan