My research is focused on local citizen-state relations and their consequences for human and social welfare. My work is motivated by two basic questions. How can governments – and local officials in particular – be held more accountable, to better respond to and serve the needs of citizens? And how can citizens actively and effectively engage and make demands on the state, between and beyond elections?


Claiming the State: Active Citizenship and Social Welfare in Rural IndiaCambridge University Press. 2018.

Articles and chapters

“Policing in patriarchy: An experimental evaluation of reforms to improve police responsiveness to women in India" (with Sandip Sukhtankar and Akshay Mangla). Science (forthcoming).

“Social Brokerage: Accountability and the Social Life of Information.” Comparative Political Studies (forthcoming).

State–Society Synergy at COVID-19’s Invisible Front Lines, with Dyuti Saunik, Avani Kapur, & Jessica Mayberry. Economic & Political Weekly (Engage), 56(32), 2021.

Great Expectations, Great Grievances: The Politics of Citizen Complaints in IndiaComparative Politics, forthcoming October 2021 (Fast Track, February 10, 2021).

The Geography of Citizenship Practice: How the Poor Engage the State in Rural and Urban India, with Adam Auerbach. Perspectives on Politics, 18(4), 2020. 

The Pursuit of Social Welfare: Citizen Claim-Making in Rural India. World Politics70(1): 122-163 (2018). (Corrigendum.)

  • Awarded the 2019 Luebbert Article Prize by the Comparative Politics section of the American Political Science Association for the “best article in comparative politics in the past two years.”)

Seeking the Local State: Gender, Caste, and the Pursuit of Public Services in Post-Tsunami IndiaWorld Development39(7): 1143-1154 (2011).

Promoting Sustainability, Building Networks: A Green Entrepreneur in Mexico. In M. Shaper (Ed.), Making Ecopreneurs: Developing Sustainable Entrepreneurship. Routledge (2010).

Work in progress

“Engendering policing: Activating State Capacity for Women’s Security” (with Akshay Mangla and Sandip Sukhtankar). (Draft in progress).

Between Ballots and Barricades: The Practice & Consequences of Everyday Claim-Making (with Janice Gallagher and Whitney Taylor). (Under contract, Cambridge University Press Elements, Politics of Development Series). 

Pandemic Inequality: Citizens, States, and Covid-19 in India (with Poulami Roychowdhury, Eds.). (Edited volume, proposal under review).

"Welfare in crisis: Frontline officials' and citizens' perspectives on welfare provision under Covid-19 (with Avani Kapur and Dyuti Saunik). (Book chapter, draft in progress).