While working as a civil engineer on a non-governmental initiative to plan watershed management in a village in Kerala in the late eighties, Santhakumar felt the need for a social science education. That led him to pursue Masters and Doctoral degrees in social science (IIT Chennai) followed by post-doctoral fellowships at the Wageningen Agricultural University (Netherlands) and Vanderbilt University (USA). He has been on the faculty of the Centre for Development Studies (Trivandrum) from 1996. He has used neoclassical economics (and broadly the rational choice approach) in analyzing and designing institutions and mechanisms of governance. He has also worked on the economics of conserving environment and natural resources. However, his current interest is on the inter-linkages between development and education, and the ways of shortening the `distance' between population groups so as to mitigate the `development differences' between them.
He has received the research medal and the outstanding research award of the Global Development Network during the early phase of his career. Santhakumar has worked on a number of consultant assignments and/or research projects funded by the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, UNEP, UNDP, CIDA and Azim Premji Foundation in India, Cambodia, Tajikistan, China, Palestine, Laos, Bangladesh, Brazil and Indonesia and on regional and global issues.
Ph.D. Social Sciences (IIT Madras)
Areas of Interest
Education and Development: Inter-Linkages
Economics of Norms and Values
Economics of Public and Non-Profit Organisations
Political Economy, Development and Governance
Education and Development: Inter-Linkages
Behavioural and Cultural Change for Development
Economics for Development Practitioners
Publications and Writings
Click here for blogs, links to online lectures, and unpublished essays.
- Santhakumar, V. Gupta, N. and Sripada, R. (2016) Schooling for All in India: Can We Neglect the Demand? Delhi: Oxford University Press
- Santhakumar, V. (2014) The Roots of Ill Governance and Corruption, Sage, New Delhi
- Santhakumar, V. (2013) Economics in Action: An Easy Guide for Development Practitioners, Sage, New Delhi
- S. Gangopadhyay and V. Santhakumar (2013) Law and Economics: Theory and Practice (Two Volumes: Vol I Authored and Vol II Edited), New Delhi: Sage
- Santhakumar V. (2011) Economic Analysis of Institutions: A Practical Guide, New Delhi: Sage Publishers
- Santhakumar, V. (2008) Analyzing Social Opposition to Reforms: Evidence from Indian Electricity Sector, New Delhi: Sage Publishers.
Articles in International Journals:
- V Santhakumar, (2017), The state of India’s environment: reflecting its underdevelopment, Sustainability in Debate, 8, 3, p. 75-83
- Santhakumar, V (2009), Entry Fees as an Instrument for Environmental Management Study of a Wildlife Park in Kerala, India, Tourism Economics, Vol. 15, No. 2, June.
- Cohen, Mark and V. Santhakumar ( 2007), Information Disclosure as a regulation: A Theoretical Analysis, Environmental and Resource Economics, 37:599-620.
- Santhakumar, V. (2003), Citizens- Action for Protecting the Environment in Developing Countries: An economic analysis of the outcome with empirical cases from India, Environment and Development Economics, 8: 505-528.
- Santhakumar, V. and Achin Chakraborty (2003) Environmental costs and their impact on the net present value of a hydroelectric project in Kerala, India, Environment and Development Economics, 8: 311-330.
- Santhakumar V. and Rajagopalan R., (1995), Green Revolution in Kerala? A discourse on Technology and Nature, South-Asia Bulletin, 15, 2, 109-119.
APU Working Papers
- Santhakumar (2016) An Intervention into the Debates on Work-in-Education' and Skill Development in India, APU Working Paper No.3
Articles in National Journals:
- Mani, S. and Santhakumar, V. (2011) New Technologies and Productivity Growth in Agriculture: Natural Rubber vs Coconuts, Economic and Political Weekly, XLVI, 6
- Santhakumar, V., (2003) The impact of distribution of costs and benefits of non-reform - a case study of power sector reforms in Kerala between 1996 and 2000, Economic and Political Weekly, 38, 2, 147-154.
- Santhakumar V., Rajagopalan R. and Ambirajan S., (1995), Planning Kerala's Irrigation Projects: Technological Prejudice and Politics of Hope, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XXX, No.12, March 25, pp. A30 - A38.
Articles in Edited Volumes:
- Santhakumar V. et al (2005) An Economic Analysis of Mangroves in South Asia in Mohsin S. Khan (ed.), `Economic Development in South Asia', Tata McGraw Hill
- Santhakumar, V. (2001), Analyzing Failed Participation with a New Institutional Economics Perspective: Evidence from Kerala, in Bhaskar Vira and Roger Jeffery (eds.), `Analytical Issues in Participatory Natural Resource Management', Hampshire, England: Palgrave Publishing Company
- Santhakumar V. (1996) On-farm Bio-Diversity in Wet Tropical Kerala, in Louise Sperling and Michael Loevinsohn, Using Diversity, IDRC, New Delhi CDS Working Papers
- Santhakumar V., (1998), Inefficiency and Institutional Issues in the Provision of Merit Goods: A study of public water supply in rural Kerala, CDS Working Paper No. 285, Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum
- Santhakumar, V., (1997), Institutional Lock-in in Natural Resource Management: The Case of Water Resources in Kerala, CDS Working Paper No. 276, Centre for Development Studies: Trivandrum.
Regular columns in Mathrubhumi Newspaper (for those who can read malayalam)
Policy Notes and Studies on Local Governance
- Santhakumar, V. (2003), Resolving Conflicts in Indian Fisheries: A Property Rights Approach, Policy Paper No. 8, Delhi: Julian L. Simon Centre for Policy Research
- Santhakumar, V. (2006) Electricity Sector in Kerala: A comparative Perspective, in S. Mani et al (eds.) Kerala's Economy: Crouching Tiger, Sacred Cows, Kottayam: DC Books
- Santhakumar, V. (2007) Managing Water: The Pragmatic View, in B. Mitra et al (eds.) `Keeping the Water Flowing', New Delhi: Academic Foundation