Milan Vaishnav

South Asia Program
Vaishnav’s primary research focus is the political economy of India, and he examines issues such as corruption, ethnic politics, governance and state capacity, election finance, and distributive politics.


PhD, Political Science, Columbia University
MA, MPhil, Political Science, Columbia University
BA, International Relations, University of Pennsylvania 




Milan Vaishnav is an associate in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His primary research focus is the political economy of India, and he examines issues such as corruption and governance, state capacity, distributive politics, and electoral behavior. 

One of his ongoing major projects examines the causes and consequences of political corruption in India with an emphasis on representation and quality of political leadership, connections between the state and private capital, and the management and exploitation of natural resources. He also works on development policy as well as issues of governance in developing countries and their relation to democratic accountability.

He is the co-editor of the book Short of the Goal: U.S. Policy and Poorly Performing States (Center for Global Development, 2006). His work has also been published in the Latin American Research Review

Previously, he worked at the Center for Global Development, where he served as a postdoctoral research fellow, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has taught at Columbia, Georgetown, and George Washington Universities.

  • Op-Ed Deutsche Welle April 7, 2014
    Odds of Congress Party Maintaining Power are Slim

    India’s ruling Congress Party is expected to take a beating at the polls, as the world’s biggest election gets underway. The opposition BJP is set to do well, despite its polarizing candidate.

  • Op-Ed Financial Times April 3, 2014
    The Rural/Urban Divide Dies Out

    Even if the rural/urban divide did once provide an accurate description of the country, there is good reason to doubt it as India heads to the polls in 2014.

  • Op-Ed Times of India March 23, 2014
    46 Percent of Indians Have No Problems Supporting Dynastic Candidates

    Political parties in India, virtually across the spectrum, have a demonstrated preference for perpetuating political dynasties.

  • Op-Ed Times of India March 17, 2014
    Growth Is No. 1 Poll Issue for Voters, Survey Shows

    For voters across India, economic growth and corruption unambiguously dominate all other concerns, and inflation follows closely behind.

  • Op-Ed Times of India March 9, 2014
    NDA Makes Gains With Urban, OBC Voters

    The hundreds of millions of voters whose collective actions will determine the course of India’s 16th general elections represent an electorate that is changing in many complex ways.

  • Op-Ed BBC February 25, 2014
    India Election: Is There a Surge of Support for Narendra Modi?

    Since early 2013 one question has dominated Indian political discourse: will there be a “wave of support” for Narendra Modi of the main opposition BJP?

  • Op-Ed CNN February 18, 2014
    The Myths of India’s Rising Regional Parties

    As India prepares to head to the polls in the next few months, much of the attention has been focused on the rise of regional parties and their potential impact on the national results.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Affairs February 12, 2014
    Empty Economics

    None of the contenders in India’s upcoming election provide much real reassurance that they can revive India’s long-run economic growth rate.

  • Q&A February 4, 2014
    Will India’s Economy Surge After the General Election?

    It will take more than a new government to fix India’s struggling economy. The country needs broad reforms and institutional change to address fundamental flaws in its economic system.

  • Article January 24, 2014
    Crime but No Punishment in Indian Elections

    In India, politicians with criminal records are supplying what voters and parties demand: candidates who are effective and well-funded.

  • Diplomat April 16, 2014
    India’s 2014 General Election: A Primer

    Economic growth, jobs and development, and inflation and corruption are three of the key issues concerning Indian voters as they go to the polls to vote in the general election.

  • Monocle’s Foreign Desk April 5, 2014
    The Foreign Desk: India’s Elections

    What matters to India’s 800 million voters and how will these desires manifest in the 2014 parliamentary elections?

  • Charlie Rose March 25, 2014
    Elections in India

    An inability to act on necessary reforms, coupled with massive malfeasance in government, has the potential to invigorate the Indian opposition going into the elections.

  • Bloomberg TV’s Political Capital March 14, 2014
    Myth That India’s Muslims Vote Differently

    Results from pre-election survey on the priorities of Indian voters debunk common myths about trends in Indian elections.

  • April 14, 2014 Washington, DC
    A Complicated Arrangement: India and the United States Since 1947

    Over the last two decades, the U.S.-India relationship has evolved from one of mutual suspicion to one of strategic partnership. Yet the relationship between the two great democracies is still a work in progress.

  • March 25, 2014 Washington, DC
    India Decides 2014: Assessing the Elections and Beyond

    The forthcoming Indian general election, scheduled to begin in mid-April, will be arguably the country’s most critical vote since 1977.

  • March 4, 2014 Washington, D.C.
    India’s Post-Election Economic Outlook

    In April, Indians will head to the polls to elect their next government. The incoming government will assume office saddled with thorny economic issues that range from large deficits and high inflation to sputtering economic growth.

  • October 11, 2013 Washington, DC
    Narendra Modi’s Experiment With the Middle Class in Gujarat

    Earlier this month, India’s opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced that Narendra Modi would be its prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 national elections.

  • September 25, 2013 Washington, D.C.
    Media Call: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s White House Visit

    Ashley Tellis and Milan Vaishnav discussed Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the White House.

  • May 23, 2013 Washington, DC
    Accidental India: How the Shadow of Crisis Has Shaped a Nation

    In just six decades, India has gone from geopolitical backwater to emerging global power.

  • March 18, 2013 Washington, DC
    Employing India’s Rural Poor

    India enacted the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in 2005 to implement an ambitious, demand-driven employment-creation program through projects that improve agricultural productivity and alleviate land degradation.

  • January 17, 2013 Washington, D.C.
    Child Malnutrition in India: Myth and Reality

    Despite high levels of growth and economic reforms, domestic observers as well as international organizations such as the World Health Organization have criticized India’s high rates of child malnutrition.

  • November 14, 2012 Washington, D.C.
    The Naxalite Insurgency in India

    The Naxalite insurgency has continued to defy the state for longer than any other uprising in post-independence India.

  • March 7, 2012 Washington, D.C.
    The Economic Outlook for Pakistan

    Pakistan’s economy remains highly vulnerable to several aspects of the country’s current reality: continued security issues, political uncertainty, and two recent and severe floods.


India Decides 2014

Areas of Expertise

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