RESEARCH

You can view a copy of my CV here.

Book Chapters

2018. Structure of Violence and Muslims.” In Abdul Shaban (ed.) Lives of Muslims in India: Politics, Exclusion and Violence. New York: Routledge, 2nd ed., pp. 145-162. (Link).

—Shorter version published as “Violence Inflicted on Muslims: Direct, Cultural and Structural.” Economic and Political Weekly 4(46):69-76.

Working Papers

"Long-Run Effects of Religious Institutions on Development" (Link)

The question of why some places develop and democratize successfully while others fail has long been a topic of interest. Despite the widespread adoption of centralized institutions in the modern period, divergence in development and democratization is acutely observable. Conventional scholarship models these institutions as operating in an institutional tabula rasa. I argue that development and democratic success is dependent upon not only centralized institutions but also legacies of non-centralized institutions. Religious institution is one such prominent institution that continues to be salient. I classify religious institutions as those that served in the imperial center and decentralized religious institutions. I argue that today the legacies of imperial religious institutions compete with centralized institutions, leading to suboptimal development and democratic outcomes, while legacies of decentralized religious institutions complement the prevailing economic and governance institutions. Differences in the coordination mechanisms anchored by institutions durably affect these outcomes in opposing ways. 

Since many factors differ across countries, it is challenging to deduce the role of the religious institution type in the development and democratic divergence. Examining the divergence within a single country, India, where the legacies of both religious institution type exist is useful in explaining the development divergence. I theoretically account and empirically test for the long-run effects of two such medieval Muslim religious institutions, the Madrasa and Sufi Khanaqah. Unlike the religious clergy’s Madrasa, which served in the imperial center, the Khanaqah mainly diffused through the countryside in an expanding agrarian frontier. Khanaqah was founded as a residential hospice, lodge, and community center with a public kitchen. Today, the religious clergy legacies compete with centralized institutions leading to lower development and democratic outcomes. In contrast, the legacies of the Khanaqah succeeded in furthering the same. While prior scholarship on religious institutions has focused on the mechanism of human capital accumulation, I find that religious institutions affect long-run development by entrenching market participation and local cooperation, with spillover into electorally competitive public goods provision. My dissertation uses statistical tests, multiple placebo analysis, and instrumental variable analysis for a comparative analysis of the religious institutions, employing rich census and electoral data for multiple decades and my original dataset on the Madrasa and Sufi Khanaqah, to illuminate the channels of persistence. I also present case studies investigating differences in the institutional equilibrium for the Madrasa and Khanaqah.


“Political Returns to Risk-Sharing: Evidence from Microcredit Groups”


“Mechanisms of Cultural Coordination: Market Participation and Ethnic Peace”


“Electoral Competition and Extreme Speech on Twitter.” (with Joyojeet Pal and Anmol Panda)


“Local Effect of Religious Institution on Infant Mortality in India” (with Muzna Alvi)