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.

  • Indian PM Narendra Modi
    Op-Ed Deutsche Welle September 2, 2014
    Modi’s Need to Move ‘Beyond Piecemeal Initiatives’

    While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has improved the quality of governance in his first hundred days in office, he has yet to pursue major economic policy reforms.

  • Op-Ed Deutsche Welle July 28, 2014
    Kerry Seeking To ‘Reset U.S. Relationship With India’

    The primary purpose of Kerry’s trip to India is symbolic, but that does not make it unimportant. The Obama administration is looking to reset its relationship with India as a whole as well as with Modi the individual.

  • Op-Ed Live Mint July 28, 2014
    The Politics and Plumbing of Reforms

    Reform initiatives that were pursued by previous Indian governments often failed due to inadequate attention to state capacity. This government has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to translate ideas into institutional change.

  • Op-Ed Deutsche Welle July 10, 2014
    Modi’s ‘Pro-Growth’ Budget ‘Lacking on Key Issues’

    There is no doubt that the Modi government’s first budget is pro-growth in its orientation, but it still lacks a detailed blueprint for economic renewal.

  • Op-Ed Business Standard June 14, 2014
    It’s Too Soon To Proclaim Death Of Coalition Politics

    Although the 2014 election repudiated many of the tenets of the post-1989 system, it is too soon to proclaim the death of coalition politics.

  • Article June 10, 2014
    A New Era in Indian Politics?

    If trends witnessed in India’s 2014 election persist, the country may have closed the book on twenty-five years of electoral politics and moved into a new era.

  • Op-Ed Mint May 27, 2014
    Strengthening India’s Rule of Law

    The next government must acknowledge India’s weak performance in enforcing the rule of law and take immediate action to close the widening gulf between principle and practice.

  • Op-Ed BBC News May 17, 2014
    India’s Congress Party: Down but Not Yet Out

    There is nothing guaranteed about the Congress party's revival, but judging by history, even its opponents would be foolish to write it off. Congress may be down but it is not yet out.

  • Op-Ed India Today May 17, 2014
    A Devil Called Policy Paralysis

    One of the previous Indian government’s most glaring legacies was the deep sense of uncertainty that pervades the economy. Remedying this policy paralysis and uncertainty must be the next government’s number one priority.

  • Op-Ed Times of India May 17, 2014
    Election Results 2014: BJP Landslide Shatters Four Electoral Myths

    The results of India’s sixteenth general election challenge the common understanding of contemporary Indian electoral politics in at least four ways.

  • New Hampshire Public Radio June 2, 2014
    All Eyes On India, And Its New Prime Minister

    India is going to need to create a lot of jobs, and create a lot of economic growth, to satisfy its domestic needs.

  • Bloomberg TV May 19, 2014
    Modi’s Strategy For India’s Economy

    While Modi has a lot of good instincts when it comes to the economy, India is in a dire economic situation and Modi faces a difficult task.

  • 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.


India Decides 2014

Areas of Expertise

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