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Building a More Effective Indian State: Theory, Evidence, and Practice

Maxwell Hall, 204

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While many of India’s post-independence achievements are commendable, the Indian state still struggles to adequately deliver basic services, such as education, health, policing, and justice. In this talk, Prof. Muralidharan, will synthesize insights from two decades of research on improving public service delivery and state capacity in India and present the core argument of his new book on this topic.

Karthik Muralidharan is the Tata Chancellor’s Professor of Economics at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).  His research spans development, public, and labor economics with a focus on improving the effectiveness of public spending in the social sector (education, health, and social protection programs). His research program is characterized by large-scale randomized experiments conducted in partnership with governments to study the impact of programs and policies at scale. His research has been published in leading economics journals including the American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, and Journal of Political Economy; and also been featured in global media outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and The Economist in addition to several leading Indian newspapers.

Prof. Muralidharan is a Research Associate of the NBER, on the Board of Directors of the Poverty Action Lab at MIT where he is co-chair of the education research program, and a Fellow and Board Member of the Bureau of Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD). He is actively involved in policy advising and capacity building in India at both the central and state government level, writes a column on economic policy for the Hindustan Times, and teaches a popular course on the Indian Economy at UCSD.


Social Science and Public Policy





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Students, Graduate and Professional

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Students, Undergraduate




MAX-Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, MAX-South Asia Center


Emera Bridger Wilson


Contact Emera Bridger Wilson to request accommodations

Exterior of Maxwell in black and white when there was no Eggers building

We’re Turning 100!

To mark our centennial in the fall of 2024, the Maxwell School will hold special events and engagement opportunities to celebrate the many ways—across disciplines and borders—our community ever strives to, as the Oath says, “transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

Throughout the year leading up to the centennial, engagement opportunities will be held for our diverse, highly accomplished community that now boasts more than 38,500 alumni across the globe.