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

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

“Fixers, mobilizers, or interlocutors? Citizen journalists, social brokers, and the challenges of accountability.” (Revise & Resubmit).

“Can gender-targeted policing improve responsiveness to women? A field experiment in India" (with Sandip Sukhtankar and Akshay Mangla). (Pre-analysis plan).

“Engendering policing: Gender, police reform, and the challenges of institutional change in India” (with Akshay Mangla and Sandip Sukhtankar).

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).