Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

Devesh Kapur

Center for the Advanced Study of India
Professor of Political Science
Madan Lal Sobti Professor for the Study of Contemporary India
University of Pennsylvania


Devesh Kapur was appointed Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India in 2006. He is Professor of Political Science at Penn, and holds the Madan Lal Sobti Chair for the Study of Contemporary India. Prior to arriving at Penn, Professor Kapur was Associate Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, and before that the Frederick Danziger Associate Professor of Government at Harvard. His research focuses on human capital, national and international public institutions, and the ways in which local-global linkages, especially international migration and international institutions, affect political and economic change in developing countries, especially India.

His book, Diaspora, Democracy and Development: The Impact of International Migration from India on India, published by Princeton University Press in August 2010, earned him the 2012 ENMISA (Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Section of International Studies Association) Distinguished Book Award. Defying the Odds: The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs (co-authored with D. Shyam Babu and Chandra Bhan Prasad), was published in July 2014 by Random House India. The Other One Percent: Indians in America (co-authored with Sanjoy Chakravorty and Nirvikar Singh), published in October 2016 by Oxford University Press, received widespread acclaim. His latest edited works are Navigating the Labyrinth: Perspectives on India’s Higher Education (with Pratap Bhanu Mehta), published in January 2017 by Orient BlackSwan, and Rethinking Public Institutions in India (with Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Milan Vaishnav), forthcoming in May 2017 by Oxford University Press.

Professor Kapur is the recipient of the Joseph R. Levenson Teaching Prize awarded to the best junior faculty, Harvard College, in 2005. He is a monthly contributor to the Business Standard. Professor Kapur holds a B. Tech in Chemical Engineering from the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University; an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota; and a Ph.D. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.


Rethinking Public Institutions in India. Devesh Kapur, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, and Milan Vaishnav (Eds). Oxford University Press, forthcoming May 2017 [Read More]


Navigating the Labyrinth: Perspectives on India’s Higher Education. Devesh Kapur and Pratap Bhanu Mehta (Eds). Orient BlackSwan, 2017 [Read More]


The Other One Percent: Indians in America. Sanjoy Chakravorty, Devesh Kapur, Nirvikar Singh. Oxford University Press, 2016 [Read More]

Defying the Odds: The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs. Devesh Kapur, D. Shyam Babu, and Chandra Bhan Prasad. Random House India, 2014. [Read More]

Diaspora, Development, and Democracy: The Domestic Impact of International Migration from India. Princeton University Press, 2010. [Read More]

Give Us Your Best and Brightest: The Global Hunt for Talent and Its Impact on the Developing World
(with John McHale). Center for Global Development, 2006. [Read More]

Public Institutions in India: Performance and Design (with Pratap Bhanu Mehta). Oxford University Press, 2005. [Read More]

The World Bank: Its First Half Century (with John P. Lewis and Richard Webb). Brookings Institution Press, 1997. [Vol. 1] [Vol. 2]




"(When) Do Anti-poverty Programs Reduce Violence? India's Rural Employment Guarantee and Maoist Conflict," International Organization (forthcoming). (with Aditya Dasgupta and Kishore Gawande).

"An Economic Partnership for Twenty-first Century Asia," in Rohan Mukherjee and Anthony Yazaki (eds), Poised for Partnership. Deeping India-Japan Relations in the Asian Century, Oxford University Press, 2016. (with Rohit Lamba) [PDF]

“Public Opinion,” in David M. Malone, Srinath Raghavan and C. Raja Mohan (eds.), Oxford Handbook on Indian Foreign Policy, 2015 [PDF]

“Renewable Natural Resource Shocks and Conflict Intensity: Findings from India’s Ongoing Maoist Insurgency,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, February 2015. (with Kishore Gawande and Shanker Satyanath) [PDF]

“Social Protection in India: A Welfare State Sans Public Goods?” India Review, 14 (1): 73–90, 2015. (with Prakirti Nangia) [PDF]

Brandon Alcorn, Gayle Christensen & Devesh Kapur (2015) “Higher Education and MOOCs in India and the Global South,” Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 47:3, 42-49

"Political Effects of International Migration," Devesh Kapur. Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 17: 479-502, May 2014 [PDF]

"A Targeted Approach: India's Expanding Social Safety Net," Devesh Kapur & Prakirti Nangia. World Politics Review, September 24, 2013 [PDF]

"The Shift to Cash Transfers: Running Better But on the Wrong Road?" Devesh Kapur. Economic and Political Weekly. Vol. XLVI, No. 21. May 21, 2011 [PDF]

"Brain Drain or Brain Bank? The Impact of Skilled Emigration on Poor-Country Innovation," Journal of Urban Economics, 69: 43-45, 2011 (with Ajay Agrawal, John McHale, and Alexander Oettl) [PDF]

"Can the Privatization of Foreign Aid Enhance Accountability," Journal of International Law and Politics, Vol. 42: 1,143-1,180, 2010 (with Dennis Whittle) [PDF]

"Rethinking Inequality: Dalits in Uttar Pradesh in the Market Reform Era," Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XLV (35): 39-49, August 28, 2010 (with Chandra Bhan Prasad, Lant Pritchett, and D. Shyam Babu) [PDF]

"International Migration and the World Income Distribution," Journal of International Development, 21: 1-9, 2009 (with John McHale) [PDF]

"Addressing the Trilemma of Higher Education," Devesh Kapur. Seminar 617, January 2011 [PDF]

"Public Opinion and Indian Foreign Policy," Devesh Kapur. India Review, Volume 8, Number 3. July-September 2009. pp. 286-305 [PDF]

Devesh Kapur, Radhika Khosla, and Pratap Bhanu Mehta, "Climate Change: India's Options," Economic & Political Weekly, August 1, 2009. [PDF]

Mihir A. Desai, Devesh Kapur, John McHale, Keith Rogers. "The Fiscal Impact of High Skilled Emigration: Flows of Indians to the U.S." Journal of Development Economics, 88(1): 32-44, 2009 [PDF]

Ajay Agrawal, Devesh Kapur and John McHale, "How Do Spatial and Social Proximity Influence Knowledge Flows? Evidence from Patent Data," Journal of Urban Economics, 64: 258-269, 2008. [PDF]

Devesh Kapur and Pratap Bhanu Mehta. “Mortgaging the Future? Indian Higher Education,” Brookings-NCAER India Policy Forum 2007-08, Volume 4, 2008, p. 101-157. [PDF]

Devesh Kapur, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Arvind Subramanian, "More on Direct Cash Transfers," Economic & Political Weekly, November 22, 2008. [PDF]

Devesh Kapur, Partha Mukhopadhyay, and Arvind Subramanian. "The Case for Direct Cash Transfers to the Poor," Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 43 (15): 37-43, April 12, 2008 [PDF]

Devesh Kapur and Richard Webb. 2007. "Beyond the IMF," UNCTAD, G-24 Discussion Paper No. 43, February. [PDF]

Yoshiko M. Herrera and Devesh Kapur. 2007. "Improving Data Quality: Actors, Incentives, and Capabilities," Political Analysis, 15:365–386 [PDF]

"The Indian Parliament as an Institution of Accountability" (with Pratap Bhanu Mehta). Paper no. 23, Democracy, Governance and Human Rights series. (Geneva: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 2006) [PDF]

The IMF and Democratic Governance (with Moises Naim), Journal of Democracy (January 2005). [P

"The Causes and Consequences of India's IT Boom," India Reviewvol. 1, no. 2 (April 2002). [PDF]

"The Common Pool Dilemma of Global Public Goods: Lessons from the World Bank's Net Income and Reserves," World Development vol. 30, no. 3 (March 2002). [PDF]

"Diasporas and Technology Transfer," Journal of Human Development vol. 2, no. 2 (July 2001). [PDF]

"Expansive Agendas and Weak Instruments: Governance Related Conditionalities of International Financial Institutions," Journal of Policy Reform vol. 4, no. 3. (2001). [PDF]


[Monthly Articles in Business Standard]


Book Chapters

"Strengthening India's Rule of Law," Devesh Kapur & Milan Vaishnav. Livemint, May 27, 2014 (adapted from Getting India Back on Track, Washington D.C.: Carnegie Endowment, 2014) [View]

"Indian Higher Education," American Universities in a Global Market. University of Chicago Press, 2010. [PDF]

"Privatization in India: The Imperatives and Consequences of Gradualism" (with Ravi Ramamurti), in Srinivasan (ed.), India After a Decade of Economic Reforms: Retrospect and Prospects. Stanford Univeristy Press, forthcoming. [PDF]

The Knowledge Bank in Birdsall (ed.), The Future of the World Bank. Center for Global Development, forthcoming. [PDF]

Outsourcing and International Labor Mobility: A Political Economy Analysis”(with Sanjay Jain and Sharun Mukund), in Foders and Langhammer (eds.), Labor Mobility and the World Economy. Springer Publishers, 2006. [PDF]

Sojourns and Software: Internationally Mobile Human Capital and High-Tech Industry Development in India, Ireland and Israel” (with John McHale), in Arora and Gambardella (eds.), From Underdogs to Tigers: The Rise and Growth of the Software Industry in Some Emerging Economies. Oxford University Press, 2005. [PDF]

Working Papers

"Higher Education Reform in India and China: The Role of the State." Devesh Kapur and Elizabeth J. Perry. HYI Working Paper Series, January 2015 [PDF]

“Rethinking the Financial Design of the World Bank.” Devesh Kapur and Arjun Raychaudhuri. Washington D.C: Center for Global Development, Working Paper 352, January 2014. [PDF]

"The Skills They Want: Aspirations  of Students in Emerging India." Megha Aggarwal, Devesh Kapur, Namrata Tognatta. CASI Working Paper 12-03. 2012 [PDF]

"Remittances and Rashomon," Randall Akee and Devesh Kapur. Working Paper 285, Center for Global Development. January 24, 2012 [PDF]

"Quid Pro Quo: Builders, Politicians, and Election Finance in India," Devesh Kapur and Milan Vaishnav. Working Paper 276, Center for Global Development. December 2011 [PDF]

"Beyond the ABCs: Higher Education and Developing Countries", Devesh Kapur and Megan Crowley, February 2008, Center for Global Development

"Remittances: The New Development Mantra?" G-24 Discussion Paper Series no. 29 (New York and Geneva, UN Conference on Trade and Development, 2004). [PDF]

"Indian Higher Education Reform: From Half-Baked Socialism to Half-Baked Capitalism" (with Pratap Bhanu Mehta). CID Working Paper No. 108. (Cambridge: Center for International Development at Harvard University, 2004). [PDF]

"Sharing the Spoils: Taxing International Human Capital Flows" (with Mihir A. Desai and John McHale). Paper no. 02-06 (Cambridge: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, 2002). [PDF]

Essays & Reviews

"Glance Back, Drive Forward: Reflections on the World Bank’s History," Devesh Kapur. Keynote Address for "Using History to Inform Development Policy: The Role of Archives" Workshop. The World Bank. October 25-26, 2012 [PDF]

"Courts and Colleges: A Problematic Relationship," Devesh Kapur and Madhav Khosla. Seminar 627. November 2011 [PDF]

"Migration and India," Devesh Kapur. India in Transition, August 30, 2010 [Full Article]

"Robbing Peter to Pay Paul," Devesh Kapur. The Times of India, December 12, 2009 [Full Article]

"Business of Knowledge," Devesh Kapur. The Times of India, November 6, 2009 [Full Article]

"Starting Point of Higher Education," Devesh Kapur. The Times of India, October 17, 2009 [Full Article]

"Academics Have More to Declare Than Their Genius," Devesh Kapur. Financial Times, June 23, 2009 [Full Article]

“The Specter Haunting India,” Devesh Kapur. India in Transition, December 15, 2008 [Full Article]

“Are the Indian armed forces facing a human capital crisis?” Devesh Kapur, Op-Ed in The Indian Express newspaper, March 27, 2008 [PDF]

"Developing Countries Worse Off Than Once Thought – Part II", Devesh Kapur, February 13, 2008, YaleGlobal [PDF]

"India's Poor: From Raw Deal to New Deal," by Devesh Kapur, Partha Mukhopadhyay and Arvind Subramanian, Op-Ed in Business Standard newspaper January 15, 2008 [PDF]

"Between a Love Fest and a Bureaucratic Wall," Devesh Kapur, January 11, 2008, India in Transition. [Full Article]

"India-US Relations. What Does the Indian Public Think?," Devesh Kapur, India in Transition, November 5, 2007. [Full Article]

"Primary Concerns" (with Sunil Khilnani). Hindustan Times, April 23, 2006. [PDF]

"India's Promise?" Harvard Magazine (July-August 2005). [PDF]

"The Indian Diaspora as a Strategic Asset," Economic and Political Weekly (February 1-7, 2003). [PDF]

"Migration's New Payoff, Foreign Policy, (November/December, 2003). [PDF]

"Firm Opinions, Infirm Facts," Seminar India no. 538. [PDF]

"Who Gets to Run the World?" Foreign Policy (Nov-Dec 2000). [PDF]

"The IMF: A Cure or A Curse?" Foreign Policy (Summer 1998). [PDF]

Affiliations & Memberships

Center for Global Development, nonresident fellow
The Global Economic Governance Programme at the University of Oxford, senior associate
Brookings - NCAER India Panel
Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS)
, board of directors