Dasgupta, Aditya and Daniel Ziblatt, (March 2015), How did Britain Democratize? Views from the Sovereign Bond MarketThe Journal of Economic History, Vol. 75 (1): pp.1-29. [replication data]

To assess competing theories of democratization, we analyze British sovereign bond market responses to the 1832, 1867, and 1884 Reform Acts, and to two failed Chartist agitations for reform.

Dasgupta, Aditya, Kishore Gawande, and Devesh Kapur.  (When) Do Anti-poverty Programs Reduce Violence? India’s Rural Employment Guarantee and Maoist ConflictInternational Organization. Forthcoming.

Drawing on a unique policy experiment, we demonstrate the potential for anti-poverty programs to mitigate violent civil conflict by improving livelihoods, but also highlight the crucial role of state capacity in shaping these effects.

Working Papers:

The Curse of Strong Roots in Party Collapse: Evidence from India’s Green Revolution.

How do established parties collapse? This paper offers a historical and institutional answer, highlighting an organizational “curse of strong roots” that prevents entrenched parties from adapting to mobilization by rising economic groups outside of the party’s traditional coalition.

Voice in a Clientelist System. [Ideas for India] [আনন্দবাজার ] [IGC Blog]

This paper argues that access to government programs and services requires both top-down connection to the ruling party as well as bottom-up civic engagement.

Technological Change and Political Turnover: The Democratizing Effects of the Green Revolution in India.

Can technological change contribute to political turnover? This paper investigates a large-scale historical natural experiment: the impact of the green revolution on single-party dominance in India.

Capital Meets Democracy: Representative Institutions and the Rise of Mass Suffrage in Sovereign Bond Markets. (with Daniel Ziblatt).

Why were some countries’ paths to mass democracy so much more politically and economically turbulent than others’? We examine this question through the reaction of the nineteenth century sovereign bond market to the rise of mass suffrage in Europe and the Americas.

When Voters Reward Enactment But Not Implementation: Evidence from the World’s Largest Social Program. [India in Transition]

Utilizing data on the world’s largest social program, this paper provides evidence that voters employ a heuristic that rewards the enactment of new programs to a greater extent than quality of implementation, which is characterized by difficulties of monitoring and attribution.


Inside the Black Box of State Capacity: a Nationwide Survey of Bureaucrats in India. (with Devesh Kapur)

State capacity is a frequently cited but poorly understood variable. We unpack the black box of state capacity by conducting large-scale surveys and focus groups with local front-line bureaucrats across India.