Book(s) | Papers

My earliest projects are concerned with grassroots-level development. In the 1990s, I co-authored a case book of illustrative projects and a companion volume that analyzes the underlying processes. A series of paper-length studies has followed over the years, most recently, an investigation in Malawi.

For my PhD research I investigated whether and how social capital helps explain the wide differences that exist among neighboring communities in India in terms of development outcomes and participation in democracy. A tool for measuring social capital had to be developed that related to the everyday experiences of people in these contexts. This scale was later taken up by the World Bank for global dissemination. I followed up on the initial India investigations by returning to the same communities a few years later, laying the foundation for understanding how social capital itself changes over time.

These projects help generate a clearer understanding about whether social capital is a tangible, reliable and predictable asset, whether it is consistent over time, whether its levels can be reasonably well predicted with the help of social science theory, and whether it can be invested in profitably over a reasonable period.