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Articles

Riots and Rebellion: State, Society and the Geography of Conflict in South Asia
Political Geography, 2018. 

I disaggregate types of political violence in a way that should more clearly delineated the relationship between conflict and state capacity across South Asia. I specifically differentiate between sovereignty-challenging violence and sovereignty-neutral violence. Incidences of the latter are more likely when state structures at the local level are powerful and the resources of the state are plentiful, groups will often pursue conflict as a means of electoral or social polarization or contestation over the control of the levers of the state, without questioning the centrality of the state in social life. The former is more likely to be present, however, when the state has been historically weak and distant from society; in those contexts, social groups maintain distance from the state and will challenge its authority directly if and when the state acts against their interests or autonomy. Separating these two different kinds of violence, both of which are prevalent across the subcontinent, will help clarify the causal relationships and mechanisms between the variations in the presence of the state across these national geographies and its impact in the incidence of political and social conflict.


Violence, Rents and Investment: Explaining Growth Divergence in South Asia
Comparative Politics, forthcoming.

How can we explain divergence in growth between countries that are converging on their political and economic institutions through democratic transition and economic reform? To explain stark differences in growth between two such countries since 1991, India and Pakistan, I employ the notion of local political orders. In India, political order has been maintained in locations in which investors are concentrated, enabling greater fixed investment and higher growth despite significant violence. In Pakistan, however, political violence and insurgent attacks have affected the sites of elite concentration and salience, which has led to a preference for non-fixed investment and lower growth. I provide evidence for these claims through a multimethod approach embedded in a controlled case comparative design. I additionally apply this argument to comparable middle-income states as a means to test external validity of the argument.    


Patronage, Bureaucratic Capacity and Failures of Electoral Coordination (with Pradeep Chhibber)
Comparative Politics, forthcoming.

Electoral coordination is central to the creation of national party systems, but there are instances where we see coordination fail even at the district level. In this paper we show that electoral coordination at the district level is linked to patronage politics.  Electoral districts in which bureaucrats do not hold a monopoly over the distribution of patronage, aspirants have little incentive to coordinate in order to control this distribution.  This leads to number of independent or local candidates competing for office. In districts in which the bureaucracy controls patronage, however, we see coordination yielding Duvergerian equilibria. We formulate and test this argument through constituency- and precinct-level analysis of Pakistani elections, and provide evidence for its plausibility with some evidence from India and Nigeria.


The Political Economy of Economic Conservatism in India
Studies in Indian Politics, forthcoming.

Economic conservatism in India today is associated with the BJP’s embrace of markets and international competition. This article argues that conservatives within the nationalist movement was founded on rejecting both the market and the planned economy, embracing instead ‘moral economy’ principles of economies guided by social norms and development founded on small-scale craft production. After independence, conservatives within the Congress Party, while acknowledging the need to enhance state power through industrial production, protected the moral economies of craft-based and agrarian production. But as the Congress Party fractured, farmers’ movements asserted interests in market-based agricultural transformation and liberalization shifted the issue space of economic debate, conservatives allied to Hindu nationalism presented a new vision based on enhancing national wealth and strength through capitalist enterprise.


India Review, 2016.
click here for an earlier version of the paper.

State capacity is often seen as simply the resources and capabilities of state organizations to perform those functions that are seen as essential to monopolizing coercion, maintaining legitimacy, and providing key public and social goods. As such, it is often conceptualized as value-neutral and comparable across national contexts. By contrast, this article posits that in the Indian context, state capacity is a politically contested concept, because there is deep and enduring political conflict in India over the appropriate roles and related capabilities of state power. This conflict is grounded in disagreements between those who wish to use the state as a tool to transform society and those who see it as a means to preserve and protect social relations. As a result of this conflict, the state in India is not weak or captured but internally divided and thus disarticulated. This article demonstrates these dynamics through an examination of state intervention in the statist and post-liberalization political economy of India.


Governance, 2016.
click here for an earlier version of the paper.

Indirect rule is a classic concept in the study of colonialism and colonial legacies. This paper argues that we need a more disaggregated conceptualization of indirect rule, rather than a simple dichotomy between direct and indirect rule. We build a three-fold typology of forms of indirect rule: suzerain, hybrid, and de jure rule. We use evidence from South Asia to explore processes that led to varying forms of governance under colonialism. Mechanisms of change that occurred at and after de-colonization are then identified. Strategic concerns, revenue extraction, and social resistance were important across both periods, while the rise of new international norms and regime ideologies after World War II shaped the post-colonial order in distinctive ways. These concepts and mechanisms are not unique to South Asia, and form the basis for new research on varieties of governance.


Studies in Comparative International Development, 2015.
click here for an earlier version of the paper.

How and why do developmental state institutions persist? We address this conceptual question through an empirical puzzle: even though Pakistan and Turkey, like South Korea and Taiwan, constructed postwar developmental state institutions, the Pakistani and Turkish economies have been unable to upgrade to higher value-added production following the Korean and Taiwanese experience. If, as many scholars argue, the creation of developmental state institutions is necessary and sufficient for high growth outcomes, how can we understand the divergence between these two sets of cases? We argue that that the persistence of developmental state institutions is contingent on the absence of articulated opposition from agrarian actors and provincial capitalists against regimes of industrial promotion. 


Studies in Comparative International Development, 2014.
click here for an earlier version of the paper. 

How might we understand the maintenance of political order in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas from Pakistani Independence until the mid-2000s, when all the factors used to explain the current insurgency have been present for decades? This article argues that particularistic institutional arrangements between the state and tribal structures – what I call ‘hybrid governance’ – established and maintained political order in the region. It develops a conceptual framework for the creation and maintenance of hybrid governance – where the state explicitly shares coercion with societal elites – as a specific kind of indirect rule. 


Studies in Comparative International Development, 2013.

How might we characterize and explain industrial variation within devel- oping economies? The strategies of manufacturers in India and Pakistan exhibit this variation within countries, sub-national units, and sectors. I argue that, far from being driven by the incentives of state institutions, the practices of industrial firms are driven by the social orientation of industrialists. I demonstrate the presence of variation and explain the dichotomy primarily through empirical research on firms in the pharmaceutical industry, as a least likely case for variation.


Journal of Human Rights, 2010.

This paper examines the current challenges facing the Indian Government in the implementation of these laws, in light of India’s experience with the Prevention of Ter- rorism Act of 2002 (POTA).We analyze how POTA, a law originally designed to protect the Indian nation as a whole from extraordinary terrorist threats, was instead captured by state-level political elites and wielded as a weapon against rival political groups. We argue that this dynamic can be explained by the broader political transformation in the federalist structure of the Indian polity that occurred in the 1990s: the fragmentation and decline of Congress party control over the Central Government allowed state and regional parties, and state governments, to claim more and more power at the expense of the Center. 


Book Chapters