Welcome

Welcome to my website! I am a Fellow at the Program in the Rule of Law at Stanford Law School. Prior to Stanford, I earned a PhD from the Department of Politics at Princeton.

I am interested in the role that the state plays in fostering development, particularly in South Asia. In my most recent research, I examine why organizations and government agencies located within the same geopolitical configurations will sometimes vary in structure and effectiveness. My previous work has appeared or is forthcoming at Comparative Politics, Cambridge University Press, and Springer Press. Read more below or click on the relevant links to the right.

Meritocracy Project

It has long been recognized that meritocratic practices make for more effective government agencies, yet meritocracies remain rare, particularly across agencies in the developing world. Why?

I claim that meritocracies are uncommon because of their political and organizational underpinnings. Specifically, meritocracies require (1) autonomy such that external actors cannot interfere in hiring and promotion processes, and (2) an organizational culture such that internal actors will support merit-based practices.

I explore how and when these components come together--or fail to come together--across India's public universities. Some universities, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, are renowned for their meritocratic practices, even while many others languish. Click here to read more.

Other Projects

Aside from analyzing the political determinants of meritocracy, I continue to conduct research in line with my broader interests. I have just published a journal article on party-directed corruption (published in Comparative Politics), where I offer a novel definition and I review recent methodological approaches to studying corruption. Find the article here or contact me if you can't get past the gateway.

I have also recently coedited a volume entitled States in the Developing World, which is forthcoming at Cambridge University Press.

Most of my material can be found on this website. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any comments or questions.