Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

Aarushi Kalra, PhD Candidate in Economics and CCSA Fellow, published her research on the Impacts of Regional Lockdown Policies in the Economic and Political Weekly, with Prof. Paul Novosad (Dartmouth College). Her article, ‘Regional Lockdown Policies and COVID-19 Transmission in India,’ assesses the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) on the first wave of COVID transmission and fatalities in India. The paper argues that COVID deaths grew most rapidly after the initial lockdown was lifted in 2020. Interventions that were most associated with slowing fatalities were temple closures, retail closures, and curfews. In her ongoing research, she explores the effect of lockdowns on production and propagation of polarizing content on social media. Kalra was also awarded the S4 Graduate Student Paper Prize, which is given for a graduate student paper that employs spatial analysis/thinking or GIS (read the paper here). Broadly, her research interrogates factors that lead to hate speech on social media: the economic conditions of minority social groups, identity of political leaders, as well as the perceived social and wealth status of minority groups. This is done using novel data from a hugely popular Indian content generation platform.