Hello! I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at New York University Abu Dhabi, where I am a tenure-track faculty member of the Social Science Division’s Politics Program. I am also a Research Affiliate with NYU’s Global TIES for Children: Transforming Intervention Effectiveness and Scale and a member of the Empirical Gender Research Network (E-GEN). I specialize in comparative politics with a substantive focus on gender, South Asia, political economy, and institutions. My research combines careful causal identification with innovative theory building to understand why equity-promoting reforms have unintended consequences that may deepen inequality.
A series of forthcoming publications captures the scope and dynamics of backlash to gender-equalizing reforms around a crucial good – land inheritance – in the world’s largest democracy: India. My articles have been accepted for publication in the Journal of Politics and the Journal of Development Economics, and my first book manuscript, titled Women’s Representation and Resistance: Positive and Perverse Consequences of Indian Reforms for Gender Equality, is under contract with Cambridge University Press, where I will submit the final manuscript for publication this fall.
In Women’s Representation and Resistance, I study the relationship between political representation and economic empowerment. I find a paradoxical outcome of quotas improving women’s political voice: while representation ensures enforcement of women’s new economic rights, it also mobilizes backlash against them. I theorize that backlash to gender-equalizing reform depends on the “cost” men expect to bear from enforcement. Indeed, I find that women can reduce this backlash by utilizing female representation to trade traditional monetary dowry for property inheritance and familial responsibilities. This, in turn, reduces the cost of reform to men. My work confirms the power of political representation to not only claim economic rights but broaden their acceptance by changing perceptions of parity. A recent news article about my research can be found here.
I am the recipient of a Marshall Scholarship and Truman Scholarship, and have worked to develop, implement, and analyze randomized field experiments on economic empowerment’s impact in collaboration with MIT’s Poverty Action Lab and the World Bank.