Kaivan Munshi is currently Professor of Economics at Yale University, a Faculty Affiliate of the Economic Growth Center, and was previously the Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge. His research career has been devoted to the analysis of social institutions and their interaction with economic activity. Professor Munshi’s research has been published in the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Quarterly Journal of Economics, and the Review of Economic Studies. He was the recipient of the Infosys Prize in the Social Sciences in 2016.
Professor Munshi’s long-term research program examines the multifaceted role played by informal community institutions in the process of development. The first stage in this research was devoted to providing credible empirical evidence that social norms and community-based networks have large effects on individual decisions and outcomes in developing economies. The second stage studied how networks can support or restrict the mobility of their members, depending on the context, with important consequences for development. Much of this work is based in India, where the caste is a natural social unit around which networks serving different economic functions (such as providing jobs and credit for their members) can be organized.
Professor Munshi’s current research expands this program in three directions. One project explores the community origins of private enterprise in India and China. A second project examines the link between social institutions and gender inequality (sex selection and female labor force participation). A third project studies the interaction between economic development and biology, with consequences for malnutrition and metabolic disease.