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 Parliament
    Op-Ed Live Mint January 26, 2015
    How Representative Are India's MPs?

    Indian legislators have very little in common with the average citizen.

  • Op-Ed Live Mint January 23, 2015
    No Big Ideas in India-U.S. Relations—and That’s OK

    U.S.-India relations have not meandered because of a lack of ideas; they’ve ebbed and flowed thanks to over-hyped pledges followed by half-baked implementation.

  • Indian Market
    Op-Ed Hindu December 9, 2014
    Being Middle Class in India

    Are differences within India’s middle class, in income, education, and cultural and social capital, so wide as to render moot any ideological or behavioral coherence to this group?

  • Indian Bricklayers
    Op-Ed Live Mint October 13, 2014
    Pro-Business or Pro-Consumer?

    Modi has repeatedly stated that government should not be in the business of business, but when policy issues demand difficult trade-offs, will the Indian government side with business or consumers?

  • Indian Marketplace
    Op-Ed Georgetown Journal of International Affairs October 9, 2014
    Modi in the USA

    The prime minister’s primary objective in the United States was to make the pitch that India is once again a hospitable environment for investment.

  • Op-Ed Economic Times September 27, 2014
    For the Two Nations, Biggest Potential is in Defense

    Washington is in a mood to strike up new deals with India and is eager to seize the window of opportunity with a new government.

  • Indian PM Narendra Modi
    Op-Ed Deutsche Welle September 26, 2014
    Modi Seeking to Revive US Investment in India

    Indian Premier Narendra Modi has embarked on a five-day visit to the United States aimed at improving ties and showing an American audience that India is once again “open for business.”

  • Indian PM Narendra Modi
    Op-Ed Live Mint September 22, 2014
    What Kind of Reformer Will Narendra Modi Be?

    The Modi government must consider pivotal reforms, rather than luxuriate in the current economic recovery.

  • 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.

  • Narendra Modi
    Diplomat January 30, 2015
    What You Need to Know About Obama's Trip to India

    President Barack Obama’s historic trip to India to serve as chief guest in the Republic Day parade has the potential to be a major turning point in India-U.S. relations.

  • Indian Naval Vessel
    CNBC September 30, 2014
    India-U.S. Can Work Towards Improving Defense Tech

    Despite the hype, the Modi-Obama meet may not show results in the short term. There may be an opportunity for the two countries to cooperate on defense technology, though.

  • 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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