Manisha Shah is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She is also a Faculty Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a Faculty Affiliate at UC Berkeley's Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), and a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). She received her Ph.D. in agriculture and resource economics from UC Berkeley.
Shah is a development economist whose primary research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of applied microeconomics, health, and development. She has written several papers on the economics of sex markets in order to learn how more effective policies and programs can be deployed to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. She also works in the area of child health and development. Shah is currently leading a randomized evaluation of a sanitation intervention in rural Indonesia to understand the causal impacts of improved sanitation on child health outcomes. Much of her research involves primary data collection and fieldwork, and she has worked extensively in Mexico, Ecuador, Indonesia, and India.
Published and Forthcoming Papers
Drought of Opportunities: Contemporaneous and Long Term Impacts of Rainfall Shocks on Human Capital (with B. Steinberg), forthcoming Journal of Political Economy.
Risk-Taking Behavior in the Wake of Natural Disasters (with L. Cameron), Journal of Human Resources, Spring 2015, 50(2): 484-515.
Can Mistargeting Destroy Social Capital and Stimulate Crime? Evidence from a Cash Transfer Program in Indonesia (with L. Cameron), Economic Development and Cultural Change, January 2014, 62(2): 381-415.
Do Sex Workers Respond to Disease? Evidence from the Male Market for Sex, American Economic Review Papers & Proceedings, 2013, 103(3): 445-50.
Intra-household Resource Allocation: Do Parents Reduce or Reinforce Child Cognitive Ability Gaps? (with P. Frijters, D. Johnston, and M. Shields), Demography, December 2013, 50:6.
Compensated for Life: Sex Work and Disease Risk (with R. Arunachalam), Journal of Human Resources, Spring 2013, 48:345-369.
Face Value: Information and Signaling in an Illegal Market (with T. Logan), Southern Economic Journal. 2013. 79(3), 529-564.
Handedness, Health and Cognitive Development: Evidence from Children in the NLSY (with D. Johnston, M. Nicholls, and M. Shields), Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A (Statistics in Society), 2012.
The Prostitute's Allure: The Return to Beauty in Commercial Sex Work (with R. Arunachalam), B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 2012.
Sex Work and Infection: What's Law Enforcement Got to Do with it? (with P. Gertler), Journal of Law and Economics, November 2011, 54.
To Work or Not to Work? Child Development and Maternal Labor Supply (with P. Frijters, D. Johnston, and M. Shields), American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, July 2009, 1(3): 97-110.
Nature's Experiment? Handedness and Early Childhood Development (with D. Johnston, M. Nicholls, and M. Shields), Demography, May 2009, 46(2): 281-302.
Prostitutes and Brides? (with R. Arunachalam), American Economic Review Papers & Proceedings, May 2008, 98(2), 516-522.
Risky Business: The Market for Unprotected Commercial Sex (with P. Gertler and S. Bertozzi), Journal of Political Economy, June 2005, 113(3), 518-550.
Working Papers (Please email me for most recent version)
Decriminalizing Prostitution: Implications for Sexual Violence and Public Health (with S. Cunningham), NBER Working Paper 20281. r&r Review of Economic Studies.
How Does Health Promotion Work? Evidence From The Dirty Business of Eliminating Open Defecation (with P. Gertler, M. Alzua, L. Cameron, S. Martinez, and S. Patil). NBER Working Paper 20997.
Workfare and Human Capital Investment: Evidence from India (with B. Steinberg), NBER Working Paper 21543.
Initial Conditions Matter: Social Capital and Participatory Development (with L. Cameron and S. Olivia), 2016.
Crimes against Morality: Unintended Consequences of Criminalizing Sex Work (with L. Cameron and J. Muz), 2016