Saumitra Jha is assistant professor of political economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He received his PhD in Economics from Stanford University in 2006. His research uses a combination of economic theory and empirical analysis to investigate the processes by which cultural and political institutions have developed historically, and to draw new strategies for contemporary development policy. He is particularly interested in formal and informal mechanisms that have been successful in fostering tolerance and cooperation among members of different social and ethnic groups.
Saum will be a joint fellow at Princeton during 2012-2013 in both the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics (CSDP) and the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance. His work this upcoming year will focus on the role of financial innovation and innovators in reducing violent resistance to beneficial reforms. Saum plans to complete a series of papers that culminate in a book, which focuses on the role financial innovations and innovators might play in theory and have played in practice in aligning interests and reducing the incentives for conflict. One component of this project is experiments designed to see whether the sharing of ethnically delimited assets can reduce ethnic conflict in both the lab and in the field.