Hello! I am an Advanced Assistant Professor of Global Development Policy at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies, where I am a tenure-track faculty member. I am also a Core Faculty at their Global Development Policy Center. 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 are forthcoming 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 forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.
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” expected from enforcement of women’s rights. Indeed, I find that women can reduce this backlash when they gain representation and rights at critical junctures. In India, such opportunities occur around marriage negotiations, when women have the opportunity to strike integrative bargains that improve familial welfare: trading traditional monetary dowry for property inheritance. My work confirms the power of political representation to not only to improve women’s economic claims 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.