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
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: (1) mechanisms that support inter-ethnic complementarities and trade, (2) financial innovations that can allow conflictual groups to credibly share in the gains from peace, (3) organizational innovations that can sustain nonviolent political movements at scale, and (4) mechanisms that recognize and productively channel the organizational skills of veterans acquired during war. Saum has a specific interest in the South Asian experience in comparative perspective.

Bio

Saumitra Jha is an associate professor of political economy at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and, by courtesy, of economics and of political science, 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 and 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 Teacher of the Year Award, voted by the students of the Stanford MSx Program in 2020.

Jha holds a BA from Williams College, 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 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

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

Professional Experience

  • Consultant, Google, 2017
  • Consultant, World Bank, 2001, 2008, 2011
  • Editor, International Trade Center, UNCTAD/WTO, 1998

Awards and Honors

  • 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
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences 2020–2021
  • Peiros Family Faculty Fellow, 2018–2019, 2019–2020
  • Winnick Family Faculty Fellow, 2017–2018
  • 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, 2013–2014
  • 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, 2011-2012
  • Academy Scholar, Harvard University, 2006–2008
  • 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 Article

Working Papers

Teaching

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Teachings Materials

POLECON 683 Political Development Economics Syllabus

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

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