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Surbhi Kesar

Email: [email protected]

Surbhi Kesar is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the School of Arts and Sciences at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. Her research areas include political economy, development economics, labour economics, particularly informality, exclusion, and structural transformation and capitalist transition in labour surplus economies. She received her PhD in Economics from South Asian University, New Delhi and has been a Fulbright Fellow at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is a coordinator for the Economic Development Working Group of the Young Scholars Initiative of the Institute for New Economic Thinking and is a Steering Group member for the Diversifying and Decolonising Economics initiative.

Academic Qualifications

PhD Economics, South Asian University, New Delhi


Political economy, Economics of identity

Primary Fields

Political Economy; Development Economics; Applied Econometrics

Research Interests

Informal economy; Structural transformation in labour surplus economies; Labour and future of work; Issues of growth and exclusion in less developed economies

Awards and Grants

Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowship [2017-18] United States-India Educational Foundation

Regulating for Decent Work (RDW) Award for Best Paper [July 2017] Fifth RDW Conference, International Labour Organisation (ILO)Geneva, Switzerland

Ruddar Datt Memorial Award for Best Paper Writer below 40 years [November 2016] 58th Annual Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE) Conference, Guwahati, India

Publication and Writings

Publications in peer-reviewed journals

Book project

  • Decolonizing Economics [Under contract with Polity Press, Cambridge, UK. Book manuscript under preparation.] [with Carolina Alves, Devika Dutt, and Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven]

Survey project

Working papers / papers under review

Ongoing projects

  • ‘Subcontracting Linkages in the Indian Informal Manufacturing Sector’ (research article)
  • ‘Transitions out of unpaid work in India: Implications for structural transformation’ (research article) [with Rosa Abraham and Amit Basole]
  • ‘Decolonizing economics pedagogy’ (research article) [with Ingrid Kvanagraven]
  • Covid-19 and socio-economic identity: An analysis of the differential impact and recovery (research article) [with Rosa Abaraham, Amit Basole, and Anand Srivastava]
  • State of Working India (SWI) report on the impact of Covid-19 lockdown on economic livelihoods in India (research report) [with members of the CSE team]

Popular writings

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