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Saumitra Jha




Saumitra Jha

jha Associate Professor of Political Economy (tenure-track)



Welcome. I'm a member of the political economy group at the Stanford GSB. My research uses a combination of economic theory and empirical analysis to investigate the processes by which cultural and political institutions have developed historically, and to draw new strategies for contemporary development policy. I am particularly interested in formal and informal mechanisms that have been successful in mitigating conflict and fostering beneficial political reforms among members of different social and ethnic groups.

Research Fields

  • Primary: comparative politics, development economics, economic history, political economy
  • Secondary: theory (contracts, decisions and incentives), industrial organization.

Research Themes

A common thread of my work is to analyze the processes which different societies have historically developed to implement peaceful and broadly beneficial political reforms in the face of potentially violent opposition, and to draw new policy lessons for solving such political economy challenges in contemporary developing societies. I am currently working on four related streams of research. These research themes include:

  1. "Unfinished Business": How Historic Globalization Shapes Modern Ethnic Politics
  2. Swords into Bank Shares: Financial Solutions to the Political Economy Challenges of Development
  3. Reform and Revolution in the Aftermath of War (with Steven Wilkinson)
  4. Gandhi's Gift : On the Promise and Limitations of Non-Violent Civil Disobedience (with Rikhil Bhavnani)

Much of my work focuses on and is motivated by issues related to the Political Economy of South Asia, though my current work also includes comparative studies of a number of other key settings undergoing political reform and development.

Here are links to my articles and working papers , to my business cases related to political reform and non-market strategy, and to Op-Eds and pieces for the popular press.


My Faculty Profile

My Google Scholar Citations