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As India gears up for next year’s general election, there is genuine uncertainty about the eventual outcome of the country’s gargantuan polls. Yet there is widespread consensus on one thing: the 2019 election will be one of the world’s most expensive on record. A new book, Costs of Democracy: Political Finance in India, provides one of the first in-depth investigations of money in Indian politics. Drawing from extensive fieldwork on political campaigns, pioneering surveys, and innovative data analysis, the contributors in this new volume uncover the opaque and enigmatic ways in which money flows through the political arteries of the world’s largest democracy. The book’s co-editors Milan Vaishnav and Devesh Kapur will be joined in conversation by Thomas Carothers and Stephen Spaulding. Annie Gowen will moderate.

Thomas Carothers

Thomas Carothers is senior vice president for studies and director of the Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Devesh Kapur

Devesh Kapur is the Starr Foundation South Asia Studies professor and director of Asia Programs at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Stephen Spaulding

Stephen Spaulding is the chief of strategy and external affairs for Common Cause.

Milan Vaishnav

Milan Vaishnav is the director and a senior fellow in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he leads Carnegie’s India Elects 2019 initiative.

Annie Gowen

Annie Gowen is a national correspondent and former India bureau chief for the Washington Post.

In the months ahead, Carnegie scholars will analyze various dimensions of India’s upcoming election battle—including coalition dynamics, the shifting demographic trends in the country’s electorate, and the impact of elections on India’s foreign policy. Keep up to date at