Suraj Jacob



Area of specialisation: Political economy of development; institutions, policy processes, and governance; and social relations and justice.


  • Ph.D. in Economics, Stanford University
  • M.Phil. in Development Studies, Queens’ College, University of Cambridge
  • M.A. in Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • B.A. Honours in Economics, St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi


  • 2024- Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum
  • 2020-2024 Azim Premji University, Bengaluru
  • 2017-2019 Vidya Bhawan Society, Udaipur
  • 2014-17 Azim Premji University, Bengaluru
  • 2008-2014 James Madison University, Virginia
  • 2007-2008 Pomona College, California

Work as development practitioner

Vidya Bhawan is a pre-independence civil society organisation in southern Rajasthan with a staff of over 500 reaching underserved populations through schools, colleges and resource centres in education, skilling, environment, and agriculture. As chief executive, my work involved strengthening academic work of students and faculty, linking education with civic engagement, and deepening institutional culture of dialogue, service and self-reflection. In addition, I am associated with Seva Mandir (Rajasthan) and Ayang Trust (Assam) and a few other NGOs working on livelihoods, education, and community participation.



  •  (with Babu Jacob) Governing Locally: Institutions, Policies and Implementation in Indian Cities (2021), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Journal articles

  • (with Rahul Mukhopadhyay) “Critical Questions for Evaluation in the Indian Context” (2023), in Asia Pacific Journal of Evaluation, 1:1, 36-46
  • (with Caroline Dyer, Indira Patil and Preeti Mishra) “Connecting Families with Schools: The Bureaucratised Relations of ‘Accountability’ in Indian Elementary Schooling” (2022), in Third World Quarterly, 43:8
  • (with Sreeparna Chattopadhyay) “Changing Birth Practices in India: Oils, Oxytocin and Obstetrics” (2022), in South Asia Research, 42:3, 1–17
  • (with Caroline Dyer, Arathi Sriprakash and Nisha Thomas) “The Social Contract and India’s Right to Education” (2022), in Development and Change, 53:4, 888-911
  • (with Melinda Adams and John Scherpereel) “Gender-Balanced Representation and the Erosion of Global Liberal Norms” (2021), in Representation, 58:4, 623–632
  • (with Balmurli Natrajan and Ajay T. G.) “‘Why don’t they use the toilet built for them?’ Explaining Toilet Use in Chhattisgarh, Central India” (2021), in Contributions to Indian Sociology 55:1, 89–115
  • (with Balmurli Natrajan) “Deepening Divides: The Caste, Class and Regional Face of Vegetarianism” (2020), in Economic & Political Weekly LV:15, 21–24
  • (with Sreeparna Chattopadhyay) “Speaking Of Abuse: The Pyramid Of Reporting Domestic Violence In India” (2019), in Economic & Political Weekly LIV:1, 53–61
  • (with Vanamala Viswanatha) “Gender and Indian Literary Awards: What do the Numbers Say?” (2018), Economic & Political Weekly LIII:25, 23–27
  • (with Sreeparna Chattopadhyay and Arima Mishra) “‘Safe’, yet Violent? Women’s Experiences with Obstetric Violence during Hospital Births in Rural Northeast India” (2018), Culture, Health and Sexuality 20:7, 815–829
  • (with Balmurli Natrajan) “Provincializing Vegetarianism: Putting Indian Food Habits in Their Place” (2018), Economic & Political Weekly LIII:9, 54–64
  • (with John Scherpereel and Melinda Adams) “Ratchets and See-Saws: Divergent Institutional Patterns in Women’s Political Representation” (2018), Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World 4, 1–13
  • (with Kiran Konkipudi) “Political Pressures and Bureaucratic Consequences: Vignettes of Janmabhoomi Implementation in Andhra Pradesh” (2017) Studies in Indian Politics 5:1, 1–17
  • (with John Scherpereel and Melinda Adams) “Will Rising Powers Undermine Global Norms? The Case of Gender-Balanced Decision Making” (2017) European Journal of International Relations 23:4, 780–808
  • “‘Development’ as State Identity? Locating the State vis-à-vis Development Reality in India” (2016) Brown Journal of World Affairs 23:1, 205–222
  • (with Sreeparna Chattopadhyay) “Marriage Dissolution in India – Evidence from Census 2011” (2016), Economic & Political Weekly LI:33, 25–27
  • (with John Scherpereel and Melinda Adams) “The Representation of Women in African Legislatures and Cabinets: An Examination with Reference to Ghana” (2016), Journal of Women, Politics, & Policy 37:2, 145–167
  • (with Balmurli Natrajan and Indira Patil) “Explaining Village-Level Development Trajectories through Schooling in Karnataka” (2015), Economic & Political Weekly L:52, 54–64
  • “What do we know about Village-Level Change and Stasis in India?” (2015), India Review, 14(4), 399–418
  • “Towards a Comparative Subnational Perspective on India” (2015), Studies in Indian Politics, 3(2), 229–246
  • (with Srikrishna Ayyangar) “Question Hour Activity and Party Behaviour in India” (2015), The Journal of Legislative Studies, 21:2, 232–249
  • (with Srikrishna Ayyangar) “Studying the Indian Legislature: What does Question Hour Reveal?” (2014), Studies in Indian Politics 2:1, 1–19 
  • (with John Scherpereel and Melinda Adams) “Gender Norms and Women’s Political Representation: A Global Analysis of Cabinets, 1979–2009” (2014), Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, 27:2, 321–345
  • “Gender and Legislative Performance in India” (2014), Politics & Gender 10:2, 236–264
  • “The Kerala Regime and Regional Disparities in Health Infrastructure Versus Outcomes” (2014), India Review 13:1, 58–77

Chapters in books

  •  “State Action, Autonomy and Electoral Democracy in India” (2024), in Yatindra Singh Sisodia and Pratip Chattopadhyay (eds.) Electoral Narratives of Democracy and Governance in India (Routledge)
  • (with Ajay S. Mehta) “Gandhian thought in Seva Mandir” (2023), in Babita Bhatt, Israr Qureshi, Dhirendra Mani Shukla and Vinay Pillai (eds.) Social Entrepreneurship and Gandhian Thoughts in the Post-COVID World (Springer), 233–248
  • “Party Types and Electoral Performance Across States, 1980–2016” (2019), in Ashutosh Kumar and Yatindra Singh Sisodia (eds.) How India Votes: A State-by-State Look (Orient Blackswan), 95–124
  • “Knowledge, Framing and Ethics in Programme Design and Evaluation” (2018), in Arima Mishra and Kalyani Subbaiah (eds.) Ethics in Public Health Practice in India (Elsevier), 45–61