My research encompasses ethnicity, political behavior, and governance outcomes. The research agenda is centered on South Asia. While I am methodologically pluralistic, I rely on experimental methods – particularly field and survey experiments, complemented with quantitative techniques. Below are some of the projects I’m working on right now. Feel free to contact me for more details, including abstracts and texts of the working papers.

Projects-in-progress:

1. Misinformation through Social Networks, Political Behavior, and Good Governance 

[Awarded a $50,000 grant from Facebook Inc.]

Research questions:

1. Does misinformation spread via social networks impact voting preferences in
developing countries, and why?
2. Does misinformation distributed through social networks change longstanding
political party affiliation, and why?
3. Does misinformation influence attitudes toward ethnic out-groups?
4. Does ethnically targeted misinformation influence demand for public goods?
5. Related to the above, does economic clientelist misinformation appealing to
targeted ethnic identities have greater (or worse) influence in changing public
policy attitudes than misinformation involving public goods, and why?

Field and survey experiments in India and Afghanistan will be carried out over phases in 2019.

2. Political Participation of Women and Public Goods Provisioning in Ethnically Divided Societies

Funding: US $ 25,000. Small Grants Award. The International Growth Centre.

The project aims to deliver insights on the following questions that would likely be beneficial for political parties, policy-makers, and academics.

1. In an ethnically divided society, what matters to voters more – security or economic development?
2. Are women at a disadvantage as political candidates in locales with caste violence?
3. What kind of incentives should parties, and female candidates, offer to voters in such ethnically divided areas to win elections?
4. Does reservation for women in legislative seats work? In contrast, should political parties nominate women in
seats with caste-based reservations?
5. What are the signals female candidates should offer to increase public trust in their candidacy vis-a-vis rival male
candidates in areas where women have been historically rarely elected?

Survey experiments and qualitative focus-group interviews will be carried out in phases from January 2020.

Papers under review: 

  • How Do Ethnic Parties Win: Violence, Clientelism and Public Goods Provision
  • Do Electoral Quotas Reduce Ethnic Violence?
  • Party Systems and Public Goods Provision: The Dynamics of Good Governance in Indian States

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