My expertise lies in comparative politics, political economy and development, with a regional specialization in South Asia. I am interested in questions of when, why and how states promote inclusive development, citizen welfare and security. I explore these questions using multiple field research methods, including ethnography, interviews, focus group discussions, surveys and field experiments. My ongoing research projects examine:

  1. Education and public service delivery: The implementation of universal primary education programming across Indian states.
  2. Policing and security: Institutional reforms to improve women’s security; police training, capacity-building and performance
  3. Social policy: The development of India’s welfare state and front capacity to implement services

A complete list of publications and professional activities is available in my CV here.


Making Bureaucracy Work: Norms, Education and Public Service Delivery in Rural India

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Studies in the Comparative Politics of Education Series

[Forthcoming, October 2022]

The Indian Welfare State

Oxford University Press

[Under contract; manuscript in progress]

Journal Articles

Policing in patriarchy: An experimental evaluation of reforms to improve police responsiveness to women in India
(with Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner and Sandip Sukhtankar)

[Science, forthcoming]

Social conflict on the front lines of reform: Institutional activism and girls’ education in rural India

Pre-publication PDF

[Public Administration and Development, 2022, 42(1):95-105. Special Issue: Street-Level Bureaucrats]

Bureaucratic Norms and State Capacity in India: Implementing Primary Education in the Himalayan Region

Pre-publication PDF

[Asian Survey, 2015, 55(5): 882-908. Special Issue: State Capacity in South Asia.]

Virtue out of Necessity?: Compliance, Commitment and the Improvement of Labor Conditions in Global Supply Chains
(with Richard Locke and Matthew Amengual)

Pre-publication PDF

[Politics & Society, 2009, 37(3): 319-351.]

Book Chapters

The Indian Police: Managing Dilemmas of Internal Security. Forthcoming in editted volume: Amita Ahuja and Devesh Kapur, Internal Security in India: Violence, Order and the State, Oxford University Press.

The Indian Police: Administration, Capacity and Performance (with Vineet Kapoor). Accepted in editted volume: Rudra Chaudhury and Milan Vaishnav, The Institutional Roots of India’s Foreign and Security Policy, Oxford University Press.

Work in Progress

  • Legalistic Bureaucracy and Episodic Collective Action: The Making of India’s Education Crisis. (Under Review at Organization Studies)
  • Engendering Policing: Activating State Capacity for Women’s Security (with Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner and Sandip Sukhtankar). (Manuscript in progress)
  • Institutional Translation in Unequal Societies: Local NGOs and Community Action for Child Rights in Rural India (Manuscript in progress).
  • Accounting for Participation in the Indian Village: Caste Conflict, School Lunches and Local Service Delivery. (Manuscript in progress).
  • Bureaucracy (Chapter in progress for Cambridge Companion to Indian Politics and Society, edited by Indrajit Roy and Manali Desai)

Other Publications

Preventing Child Labour in the U.P. Carpet Belt, Case Studies of Development in Practice, New Delhi: UNICEF India, 2007 (with Diksha Gupta and Afsoon Houshidari). [PDF]

Review of: Informal Labor, Formal Politics, and Dignified Discontent in India, by Rina Agarwala, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 67 (4), October 2014.

Understanding Child Labor in India, Perspectives on Work, 13(1):13-16, Summer 2009. [Pre-publication PDF].