Skip navigation
Devesh Kapur

Devesh Kapur

Starr Foundation Professor of South Asian Studies


Devesh Kapur has a distinguished background in research and academia. He joined the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in July 2018 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India, holding the Madan Lal Sobti Chair for the Study of Contemporary India. Prior to his tenure at Penn, he was Associate Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Frederick Danziger Associate Professor of Government at Harvard. Kapur received the Joseph R. Levenson Teaching Prize, awarded to the best junior faculty at Harvard College and Outstanding Teaching in Political Science by the American Political Science Association, in 2005.

Kapur’s research has focused on five broad areas that examine the political and institutional determinants of economic development: international financial institutions; political and economic consequences of international and internal migration; the effects of market forces and urbanization on the well-being of socially marginalized groups in India; governance and public institutions; and higher education. His book, Diaspora, Democracy and Development: The Impact of International Migration from India on India (Princeton University Press) earned him a 2012 Distinguished Book Award of the International Studies Association, while The Other One Percent: Indians in America (with Sanjoy Chakravorty and Nirvikar Singh) was a Choice Outstanding Title of 2017. His other publications include The World Bank: Its First Half Century (with John Lewis and Richard Webb) and Defying the Odds: The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs (co-authored with D. Shyam Babu and Chandra Bhan Prasad). His latest edited works are Navigating the Labyrinth: Perspectives on India’s Higher Education (with Pratap Bhanu Mehta), Rethinking Public Institutions in India (with Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Milan Vaishnav), The Costs of Democracy: Political Finance in India (with Milan Vaishnav) and Regulation in India: Design, Capacity, Performance (with Madhav Khosla)

EDUCATION: BTech in Chemical Engineering from IIT (BHU) Varanasi; MS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota; PhD from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.
  • “Nurturing Democrats: Education and Democracy” Seminar, 761, January 2023.

  • Amit Ahuja and Devesh Kapur (eds). Internal Security in India: Violence, Order and the State. New York: Oxford University Press, 2023.

  • Devesh Kapur, Lily Kong, Florence Lo and David Malone (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Higher Education in the Asia-Pacific Region. New York: Oxford University Press, 2023.

  • Shoumitro Chatterjee, Devesh Kapur, Pradyut Sekhsaria and Arvind Subramanian. Agricultural Federalism. New Facts, Constitutional Vision, Economic & Political Weekly Vol 57 (36): 39-48. 2022.

  • D. Shyam Babu, Devesh Kapur and Chandra Bhan Prasad. “Reimagining Merit in India: Cognition and Affirmative Action,” in Tarun Khanna and Michael Szonyi (eds) Making Meritocracy in China and India, Oxford University Press, 2022.

  • Sumitra Badrinathan and Devesh Kapur. “Religion, Caste, Class, Politics: How Urbanization Affects Social Interactions and Political Behaviors,” in Sanjoy Chakravorty and Neelanjan Sircar (eds), eds. Colossus: Anatomy of Delhi New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2022.

  • Devesh Kapur, Neelanjan Sircar, and Milan Vaishnav. “Introduction: Gender, Social Change, and Urbanisation in North India,” Urbanization 6 (1): S7-S19, 2021.

  • Devesh Kapur, Milan Vaishnav and Dawson Verley. “What is women’s work? Reflections from four North Indian urban clusters,” Urbanization 6 (1): S20-S39, 2021.

  • Sumitra Badrinathan, Deepaboli Chatterjee, Devesh Kapur and Neelanjan Sircar. “Partisan Disagreement: The Role of Media, Personal Networks and Gender in Forming Political Preferences,” Urbanization 6 (1): S141-S157, 2021.

  • Sumitra Badrinathan, Devesh Kapur, Jonathan Kay, and Milan Vaishnav. (2021). Social Realities of Indian Americans: Results From the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Johns Hopkins SAIS, University of Pennsylvania.



  • India
  • South Asia


  • Governance and Public Institutions
  • Higher Education
  • International and Internal Migration
  • International Financial Institutions
  • Political Economy & Development