Saumitra Jha

Saumitra Jha
Associate Professor, Political Economy

Saumitra Jha

Associate Professor of Political Economy

Associate Professor of Political Science and of Economics (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences
Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
Faculty Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
Academic Area:

Research Statement

Saumitra Jha’s research focuses upon understanding the effectiveness of organizations and innovations that societies have developed to address the problems of violence and other political risks, and to seek new lessons for fostering peace and development. So far, his research has focused on understanding and empirically assessing the effectiveness of four related approaches: mechanisms that support interethnic complementarities and trade, financial innovations that can allow conflictual groups to credibly share in the gains from peace, organizational innovations that can sustain nonviolent political movements at scale, and mechanisms that recognize and productively channel the organizational skills of veterans acquired during war. Jha has a specific interest in the South Asian experience in comparative perspective.

Bio

Jha is an associate professor of political economy at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and, by courtesy, of economics and of political science at Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences; and convenes the Stanford Conflict and Polarization Lab. He is also a senior fellow at the Center for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law within the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Affairs, a faculty fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences and a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. 

Jha’s research has been published in leading journals in economics and political science, including Econometrica, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the American Political Science Review and the Journal of Development Economics, and he serves on a number of editorial boards. His research on ethnic tolerance has been recognized with the Michael Wallerstein Award for best published article in political economy from the American Political Science Association in 2014 and his coauthored research on heroes with the Oliver Williamson Award for best paper by the Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics in 2020. Jha was honored to receive the Stanford MSx Teacher of the Year Award, voted by the students in 2020.

Jha holds a BA from Williams College, a master’s degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD in economics from Stanford University. Prior to joining Stanford GSB, he was an Academy Scholar at Harvard University. He has been a center fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford and at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance and the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University. Jha has consulted on economic and political risk issues for the United Nations/WTO, the World Bank, government agencies, and for private firms.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Economics, Stanford University, 2006
  • Master of Advanced Study: Mathematics (Part III), University of Cambridge, 2001
  • Master of Philosophy: Economics, Cambridge University, 2000
  • BA summa cum laude, with highest honors: Economics and Mathematics, Williams College, 1999

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Political Economy, and by courtesy of Economics and Political Science, Stanford University 2013–present
  • Faculty Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, 2022–present
  • Senior Fellow, Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Affairs, Stanford University, 2017–present
  • Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, 2017–present
  • Assistant Professor of Political Economy, and by courtesy of Economics and Political Science, Stanford University 2008–13
  • Center Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, 2020–21
  • Fellow, Center for Study of Democratic Politics and Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance, Princeton University, 2012–13
  • Academy Scholar, Harvard University, 2006–08

Professional Experience

  • Advisory Board, Accord, 2022-
  • Consultant, Google, 2017
  • Consultant, World Bank, 2001, 2008, 2011
  • Editor, International Trade Center, UNCTAD/WTO, 1998

Awards and Honors

  • Lee J. Alston Award for best paper published in the Journal of Historical Political Economy, 2023
  • Dan C. Chung Faculty Scholar at the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Affairs, 2022
  • Inaugural Stanford Teagle Fellow in Liberal Education, 2022
  • Teacher of the Year, awarded by the Stanford GSB Sloan Fellows/MSx Class of 2020
  • Oliver Williamson Award for Best Paper, Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics, 2020
  • Center Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences 2020–21
  • Finalist for the 2020 Exeter Prize for best published paper in Experimental Economics, Decision Theory and Behavioral Economics
  • Peiros Family Faculty Fellow, 2018–19, 2019–20
  • Winnick Family Faculty Fellow, 2017–18
  • Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Developing Economies Award, 2015
  • Michael Wallerstein Award for best published article in Political Economy in previous year, American Political Science Association, 2014
  • John A. Gunn & Cynthia Fry Gunn Faculty Scholar, 2013–14
  • Fellow, Center for Study of Democratic Politics, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, 2012
  • Fellow, Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance, Princeton University, 2012
  • John A. Gunn and Cynthia Fry Gunn Faculty Scholar, 2011–12
  • Academy Scholar, Harvard University, 2006–08
  • Koret Foundation Dissertation Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, 2005
  • Herchel Smith Scholar, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, 1999–2001
  • Carl Van Duyne Prize in Economics, Williams College, 1999
  • Phi Beta Kappa (junior year), Williams College, 1998

Publications

Journal Articles

Saumitra Jha, Moses Shayo
Economic Journal
2024 Vol. accepted (subject to data replication)
Julia Cage, Anna Dagorret, Pauline Grosjean, Saumitra Jha
American Economic Review
July 2023 Vol. 113 Issue 7 Pages 1888–1932
Saumitra Jha
Oxford Handbook of Historical Political Economy
2023
Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, Juan Espinosa-Balbuena, Saumitra Jha
Journal of Historical Political Economy
February 2022 Vol. 2 Issue 1 Pages 89-133
Saumitra Jha, Moses Shayo
Econometrica
September 2019 Vol. 87 Issue 5 Pages 1561-1588
Saumitra Jha
Economic Policy
August 2018 Vol. 33 Issue 95 Pages 485-526
Saumitra Jha, Moses Shayo
The Political Economist
April 2016 Vol. XII Issue 1
Saumitra Jha
Quarterly Journal of Economics
August 2015 Vol. 103 Issue 3
Saumitra Jha
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
August 2014 Vol. 104 Pages 18-36
Rikhil Bhavnani, Saumitra Jha
Economics of Peace and Security Journal
April 2014 Vol. 9 Issue 1 Pages 80-92
Saumitra Jha
Business and Politics (forthcoming)
March 15, 2013
Saumitra Jha
World Financial Review
20, 2013
Saumitra Jha
American Political Science Review
2013 Vol. 107 Issue 4
Saumitra Jha, Steven Wilkinson
American Political Science Review
2012 Vol. 106 Issue 4 Pages 883-907
Saumitra Jha
Institutions and comparative economic development
2012 Pages 131-151
Radu Ban, Saumitra Jha, Vijayendra Rao
Journal of Development Economics
2012 Vol. 99 Issue 2 Pages 428–438
Yadira Gonzalez de Lara, Avner Greif, Saumitra Jha
American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings
2008 Vol. 98 Issue 2 Pages 105-109
Saumitra Jha, Vijayendra Rao, Michael Woolcock
World Development
2007 Vol. 35 Issue 2 Pages 230-246
Saumitra Jha
Economics of Peace and Security Journal
2007 Vol. 2 Issue 2 Pages 89-93

Book Chapters

Saumitra Jha February 14, 2023
Saumitra Jha, Julia Cage, Pauline Grosjean
Nation Building: Big Lessons from Successes and Failures
February 14, 2023

Academic Publications

Saumitra Jha
Nation Building: Big Lessons from Successes and Failures
February 14, 2023
Julia Cage, Pauline Grosjean, Saumitra Jha
Nation Building: Big Lessons from Successes and Failures
February 14, 2023

Teaching

Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

Anticipate and develop strategies to address critical beyond-market forces, from legislation and regulation to activism and the media.
Learn how to grow and scale your company in this 10-month program ​for CEOs and founders of established businesses in Africa and South Asia.

Teachings Materials

POLECON 683 Political Development Economics Syllabus

Stanford GSB Affiliations

Stanford University Affiliations

Service to the Profession

  • Associate Editor, Journal of Development Economics, 2016–present
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Comparative Economics, 2017–present
  • Editorial Board, Global Perspectives, 2018–present
  • Editorial Board, Business and Politics, 2020- present
  • Faculty Fellow, Jameel Poverty Action Lab
  • Faculty Fellow, Center for Effective Global Action
  • Faculty Fellow, Association for Analytic Learning about Islam and Muslim Societies

In the Media

Insights by Stanford Business

August 28, 2023
An experiment shows that investing — even when unprofitable — can be a lesson in building trust.
November 22, 2022
In the face of corruption in India, wise business leaders must decide what is negotiable — and what isn’t.
November 02, 2022
Practical advice for avoiding divisiveness and working with people with different views.
October 19, 2022
Stanford GSB faculty and alumni discuss ways citizens, leaders, and organizations can begin to bridge the political gap. (Part 2)
July 30, 2021
Beyond the meme stocks, the app is a great tool for teaching responsibility and financial concepts.
December 09, 2020
We’ve compiled an eclectic collection of books to share — or hoard — while sheltering in place this season.
November 10, 2020
Political polarization may creep into the workplace. Here are some ways managers can become peacekeepers.
October 21, 2020
Stanford researchers measure the depth of our partisan divide — and suggest some ways to bridge it.
July 15, 2020
Helping voters learn by trading in the stock market can shift their perspective and politics.
July 02, 2019
Escape the heat with books recommended by Stanford business professors.
March 27, 2018
When Israelis invest in stocks, they are more likely to support peace negotiations, new Stanford research shows.
May 02, 2017
The divide between urban and rural voters is growing everywhere: from New York City to farm towns.
January 30, 2017
By a large margin, more people saw actual election news, not the fabricated kind.
April 29, 2015
A Stanford scholar explains why financial mechanisms could be useful to align diverse interests.
February 28, 2014
A political economist explores how commerce can help promote peace.
October 09, 2012
An economist shows how financial innovation can align incentives and help reduce ethnic violence.
August 01, 2009
How slums are run depends on a variety of factors, such as their ethnic makeup, political connections, and how long they have been established.

School News

October 30, 2020
How a medieval navigation tool symbolizes the link between world trade and inter-ethnic harmony.
July 24, 2020
MBA, MSx, and PhD students honored Glenn Kramon, Saumitra Jha, and Arvind Krishnamurthy for their impact in teaching and service.
June 02, 2017
In the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election, a workshop series was launched to help students move beyond political conflict.