Surbhi Kesar is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the School of Arts and Sciences at Azim Premji University,
Bengaluru. Her research areas include political economy, development economics, labour economics,
particularly informality, exclusion, and structural transformation and capitalist transition in labour
surplus economies. She received her PhD in Economics from South Asian University, New Delhi and has been
a Fulbright Fellow at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is a coordinator for the Economic
Development Working Group of the Young Scholars Initiative of the Institute for New Economic Thinking
and is a Steering Group member for the Diversifying and Decolonising Economics initiative.
PhD Economics, South Asian University, New Delhi
Political economy, Economics of identity
Political Economy; Development Economics; Applied Econometrics
Informal economy; Structural transformation in labour surplus economies;
Labour and future of work; Issues of growth and exclusion in less developed economies
Awards and Grants
Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowship [2017-18]
United States-India Educational Foundation
Regulating for Decent Work (RDW) Award for Best Paper [July 2017]
Fifth RDW Conference, International Labour Organisation (ILO)Geneva, Switzerland
Ruddar Datt Memorial Award for Best Paper Writer below 40 years [November 2016]
58th Annual Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE) Conference, Guwahati, India
Publication and Writings
Publications in peer-reviewed journals
Decolonizing Economics [Under contract with Polity Press, Cambridge, UK. Book manuscript under preparation.] [with Carolina Alves, Devika Dutt, and Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven]
Working papers / papers under review
Economic Transitions, Dualism, and Informality in India: Nature and Patterns of Household-level preparation for Transitions
Centre for Sustainable Employment Working Paper series, 2020 [Earlier version: Working Paper 2019-03, UMass-Amherst Economics Working Paper series, 2019.]
Pandemic, informality, and vulnerability: Impact of Covid-19 on livelihoods in India
Working Paper 2020-01, Centre for Sustainable Employment Working Paper series, 2020
[with Rosa Abraham, Rahul Lahoti, Paaritosh Nath, and Amit Basole]
‘Subcontracting Linkages in the Indian Informal Manufacturing Sector’ (research article)
‘Transitions out of unpaid work in India: Implications for structural transformation’ (research article) [with Rosa Abraham and Amit Basole]
‘Decolonizing economics pedagogy’ (research article) [with Ingrid Kvanagraven]
Covid-19 and socio-economic identity: An analysis of the differential impact and recovery (research article)
[with Rosa Abaraham, Amit Basole, and Anand Srivastava]
State of Working India (SWI) report on the impact of Covid-19 lockdown on economic livelihoods in India (research report)
[with members of the CSE team]
‘On the misclassification of employment status data in the ILOSTAT Database’ on Centre for Sustainable Employment Blog, Novemeber 2020 [with Amit Basole]
‘Diversify and decolonize your fall economics list – Fall 2020’, on d-econ.org, October, 2020 [with Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven, Devika Dutt, and Aditi Dixit]
‘Why do economists have trouble understanding racialized inequalities?’, in Institute for New Economic Thinking, August 2020.
[with Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven]
‘Pandemic as a lens: Identifying and addressing livelihood vulnerabilities’, in Ideas for India, July 2020.
[with Rosa Abraham, Amit Basole, Rahul Lahoti, and Paaritosh Nath]
‘Decolonize your pandemic reading list’,in Open Democracy, June 30, 2020.
[with Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven, Devika Dutt, and Farwa Sial]
‘Hunger grows as India’s lockdown kills jobs: Result of survey from 12 states’, in The India
Forum, June 5, 2020. [with Rahul Lahoti, Amit Basole, Rosa Abraham, and Paaritosh Nath]
‘Diversify and decolonise your holiday reading list’, in Open Democracy, December 20, 2019.
[with Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven and Devika Dutt]
‘Privatising a public good’, in Frontline, December 20, 2019.
[with Devika Dutt and Zico Dasgupta]
‘A Dogra from Jammu deplores the slow death of our basic and fundamental humanity’, in
‘State Subjects’, The Caravan, September 30, 2019.
‘An alternate economics summer reading list’, in Developing Economics, July 3, 2019.
[with Carolina Alves, Devika Dutt, Danielle Guizzo, Richard Itaman, Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven]