COVID-19 Update

Johns Hopkins SAIS is actively monitoring the global COVID-19 outbreak, with particular focus on the health and well-being of the university community. CLICK HERE for additional resources and virtual events.

Skip navigation

Devesh Kapur

Starr Foundation Professor of South Asian Studies

Director of Asia Programs

  • +1 (202) 663-5633
  • Campus Location: Washington DC
  • Office Location: Rome 722


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 American (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.

Gulati, A., Kapur, D., & Bouton, M.M. (2019). Reforming Indian agriculture. Center for the Advanced Study of India.
Kapur, D., & Vaishnav, M. (2018). Costs of democracy: Political finance in India. New Delhi, India: Oxford University Press.
Kapur, D., Mehta, P. B., & Vaishnav, M. (2017). Rethinking public institutions in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Kapur, D., & Mehta, P. B. (2017). Navigating the labyrinth: Perspectives on Indias higher education. Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan.
Kapur, D., Chakravorty, S., & N. S. (2017). The other one percent: Indians in America. New York: Oxford University Press.
Kapur, D. (2010). Diaspora, development, and democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Kapur, D., & McHale, J. (2005). Give us your best and brightest: The global hunt for talent and its impact on the developing world. Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development.



  • India
  • South Asia


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

In the News

This will be worst recession ever, farming may save the day.

Devesh Kapur interviewed in Business Standard, 6/2

India’s COVID aid shouldn’t bypass the marginalised.

Devesh Kapur wrote in The Hindu BusinessLine, 5/27

India’s economy is in dire straits

Devesh Kapur cited in QRIUS, 4/21

Solidarity today, new social compact tomorrow

Devesh Kapur wrote in Business Standard, 4/12

Creating fiscal space for the states

Devesh Kapur wrote in Business Standard, 4/11

Fiscal space: Not if but how

Devesh Kapur wrote in Business Standard, 4/8

In times of a COVID-19 lockdown, protecting lives and livelihoods.

Devesh Kapur wrote in Hindustan Times, 3/27

Trump seeks presidential moment in rally with 100,000 Indians.

Devesh Kapur quoted in Nikkei Asian Review, 2/25

The new challenge for census 2021.

Devesh Kapur wrote in in Hindustan Times, 2/6

Power and spats.

Devesh Kapur interviewed on Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio, 11/11

The Indian prime minister and Trump addressed a Houston rally. Who was signaling what?

Devesh Kapur wrote in The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, 9/29

Reforming Indian agriculture.

Devesh Kapur wrote for Center for the Advanced Study of India, 8/28

Social division will only erase India’s infrastructural gains.

Devesh Kapur wrote in Financial Times, 6/2

The election aftermath and Devesh Kapur on the Indian state.

Devesh Kapur interviewed on Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Grand Tamasha podcast, 5/29

How to invest in Narendra Modi’s India.

Devesh Kapur quoted in Barron’s, 5/24

India's election a vote of confidence in democracy.

Devesh Kapur quoted in Star Tribune, 4/12