India Country Research Team

The India Country Research Team is a multidisciplinary group composed of eight researchers from institutions throughout the world. The team members offer expertise in diverse disciplines including economics, education, philosophy, political science, social policy, and statistics. They bring a wealth of experience in conducting research in a developing-country context, and many are based in India, or have close ties with the region. A key institution for the research is the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), which is based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has its South Asia office at the Institute for Financial Management and Research in Chennai, India.

Principal Investigators

Karthik Muralidharan

Karthik Muralidharan is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of California, San Diego, and Co-Chair of Education Research at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is considered one of the world’s leading scholars on education in developing countries, especially in India. He has an exceptional track record of conducting rigorous randomized evaluations at scale while working closely with governments. He has authored highly cited studies on governance in Indian schools. In Andhra Pradesh, he has conducted large-scale experimental evaluations of a range of education policies, including performance pay, block grants, diagnostic feedback and private school vouchers. As an academic scholar, he invests time and effort in communicating and disseminating research results to broader audiences in nontechnical language. He has given over 120 invited lectures and seminars in over 15 countries in the past decade, and has written influential policy-oriented documents including the approach paper on primary education for India’s 12th Five-Year Plan. His primary research interests include development, public, and labor economics. Born and raised in India, he earned an A.B. in Economics (summa cum laude) from Harvard, an M.Phil. in Economics from the University of Cambridge, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard.

Abhijeet Singh

Abhijeet Singh is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the Department of Economics at University College London. Until January, 2016, he was a Quantitative Research Officer with the Young Lives study based at the University of Oxford. His published research projects have focused on evaluating the causal effects of private schooling in India on student achievement and socio-emotional skills using value-added models; on the effects of the midday meals’ scheme on nutrition; on differences in student achievement in private and public sectors at the time of school entry; and on gender-based differences across a range of outcomes in multiple developing countries. In recent work he has focused on estimating system-level productivity of schooling across four developing countries, including India. He has extensive experience in fieldwork, survey design, and survey data analysis with a specific focus on measurement of education, nutrition, and child well-being.  His research has been published in various peer-reviewed journals in development economics, and has also been featured in print and online media outlets, such as the Guardian, the Economist, Ideas for India website and the World Bank Development Impact blog. He holds a D.Phil and an M.Phil in Economics from the University of Oxford and a BA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Delhi.

Other key researchers

Alejandro Ganimian

Alejandro J. Ganimian is an Education Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South Asia in India. His  research employs randomized controlled trials to answer questions that are of interest to both economists and psychometricians in low- and middle-income countries. His current research portfolio includes studies on: (a) teacher recruitment, selection, evaluation, and feedback; (b) the uses and misuses of student assessments to provide information to families and schools; (c) the relationship between socio-emotional skills, school performance, and student achievement in secondary school; and (d) strategies to improve the quality of instruction in early childhood education. His research has been featured in the Review of Educational Research and the International Journal of Educational Development. Prior to joining J-PAL, he was a consultant for the American Institutes for Research, Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE), Mexicanos Primero, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, and the Partnership for Educational Revitalization in the Americas (PREAL). He holds a Ph.D. in Quantitative Policy Analysis in Education from Harvard University, where he was a fellow in the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy, an M.Phil. in Educational Research from the University of Cambridge, and a B.A. in International Politics from Georgetown University.

Yamini Aiyar

Yamini Aiyar is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research and director of the Accountability Initiative (AI), a research group that focuses on tracking government planning, budgeting, and decision-making systems in key social sector programs. She has worked with the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program and Rural Development unit in Delhi, where she focused on action research aimed at strengthening mechanisms for citizen engagement in local government. She was also a member of the decentralization team at the World Bank that provided policy support to strengthen Panchayati Raj (local governance) in India. Her current research focus is on understanding conditions under which social policy reform can be embedded and sustained. Yamini is a TED fellow and a member of the Open Society Foundation's fiscal governance program advisory board. She was also a founding member of the International Experts Panel of the Open Government Partnership and a member of the World Economic Forum’s global council on good governance. Yamini is a regular participant in public debate on social policy in India. She writes regularly in national newspapers and has participated in several government committees and policy dialogues. Yamini has an M.Sc. in Development Studies from the London School of Economics, an M.A. in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge, and a B.A. in Philosophy from Delhi University.