Saumitra Jha

I’m a professor in the political economy group at the Stanford Graduate School of Business,  and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law in the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Affairs.

I also convene the Conflict and Polarization Lab within the Stanford King Center on Global Development.

My research focuses upon understanding the effectiveness of organizations and innovations that societies have developed to address the problems of violence and political risk in the past and to develop new lessons for contemporary policy.

I am happy to be affiliated as a professor, by courtesy, of the Stanford Departments of Economics and of Political Science, as a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

I was delighted to be voted the Teacher of the Year by the Stanford GSB Sloan/ MSx class of 2020.  With Julia Cage, Anna Dagorret and Pauline Grosjean, our work on Heroes was also awarded the 2020 Oliver Williamson best paper award from the Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics.

Primary Research Fields

comparative politics, development economics, economic history, political economy

Research Themes

I am currently working on four related streams of research. These research themes include:

  1. Swords into Bank Shares: Financial Solutions to the Threat of Political Violence
  2. Unfinished Business”: Harnessing International Trade for Inter-Ethnic Peace
  3. Wars and Freedoms (with Steven Wilkinson)
  4. How Nonviolence Works (with Rikhil Bhavnani)

Much of my work focuses on and is motivated by issues related to the Political Economy of South Asia, though my current work also includes comparative studies of a number of other key settings undergoing political reform and development.

Here are links to my articles and working papers , to my business cases related to political reform and non-market strategy, and to Op-Eds and pieces for the popular press.

I appreciate the opportunity to serve as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Development Economics and the Journal of Comparative Economics. I also serve on the Editorial Board of Business and Politics and of the Political Economy section of Global Perspectives.  You may also find me at the Center for Social Innovation, the Europe Center, the Center for Latin American Studies and the Center for South Asia, and, beyond Stanford, at AALIMSCEGA and J-PAL.

Southern India and Southeast Asia antique map
"Partie Meridionale de l'Inde En deux Presque Isles l'vne de ca et l'autre de la le Gange." (Southern India and Southeast Asia.) Source: David Rumsey