Bhumi Purohit

210 Barrows Hall, Berkeley, CA ·

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. I focus on gender, bureaucracy, and representation with a regional focus on India.

My dissertation focuses on how bureaucrats react to the entry of minority politicians, particularly women, and the effects of bureaucratic-politician interactions on policy outcomes. I additionally focus on the strategies minority politicians use to overcome differential treatment. My research is generously supported by the Institute of International Studies (UC Berkeley), the Weiss Family Fund, and the Center for Politics of Development.

Prior to coming to Berkeley, I worked as a J-PAL Policy Consultant for the Ministry of Rural Development in India to create policy implementation plans for finance management reforms and rural poverty reduction. I have additional experience with managing experiments and research with One Acre Fund in Kenya and running social enterprises in India and Sierra Leone.

I hold a Master’s degree in Area Studies from the University of Oxford with a concentration on Modern South Asia. Prior to that, I graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and a certificate in Documentary Film Making.

You can reach me at

Curriculum Vitae

My curriculum vitae is available on Dropbox, here.


Dissertation Project - The Laments of Getting Things Done: The Case of Gender and Ethnic Bias in India’s Bureaucracy

My dissertation seeks to create a comprehensive theory of how bureaucrats react to the entry of minoritized politicans---both women and ethnic minorities----into political institutions and how their biases impact policy outputs in minority-led constituencies. When bureaucrats have negative attitudes about the capability of minoritized politicians as leaders, under what conditions do they exercise discretion in policy implementation? What are the implications for politicians when bureaucrats exercise discretion and what strategies do politicians use to counter discretion? This dissertation seeks to understand the political economy of bureaucrat-politician interactions and its effects on both minoritized politicians and the constituencies led by these politicians in India.

Working Book Manuscript, accepted by Oxford University Press India - Bang for the Buck : Reforms to Maximize Public Funding Outcomes in India (With A. Santosh Mathew and Devesh Sharma)

This book updates the existing public service delivery literature and state capacity literature for a missing link: the public finance mechanisms that fund public services. Public finance mechanisms are a core link in ensuring budget allocation trickles down to program implementers for public service delivery. When poorly structured, public finance mechanisms can stall fund flow and create systemic issues that stymie public service delivery. Bang for the Buck outlines these issues that result from a poor public finance management system and offers a comprehensive reform plan for policymakers. Please click on the project link for more details.

Working Paper [available upon request] - Are Incentives Universally Effective? (With Cecilia H. Mo and Katharine Conn)

Do survey incentives that improve response rates in the United States and the Global North perform just as well in other countries? Studies on web survey recruitment have largely come to a conclusion that monetary incentives recruit a higher share of respondents than non-monetary responses. Though these findings largely come from the U.S. or Europe, scholars in other regions have relied on similar monetary incentives such as gifts or lotteries to recruit respondents. We test the assumption that monetary incentives are effective across cultures by running an incentives experiment in Australia, India, and the United States amongst a similar population of pro-social individuals in each country. We find that monetary incentives are effective in the U.S. and Australia, but Indians respond more frequently to charity appeals or descriptive appeals. An additional dictator game corroborates this finding, showing that Indians are much more likely to donate potential lottery winnings to charity than individuals from other countries. Our results suggests that incentives that have worked in Western settings cannot be transported to other settings without prior testing and a careful consideration of the cultural or socioeconomic context of a country.

Working Paper [available upon request] - The (Null) Marriage Effect : Voters’ Indifference to Marital Status of Female Candidates in India.

In countries that regard marriage to be of high importance, why do we see so many unmarried or widowed female candidates? To test whether this is a result of demand-based effects, I test this puzzle through a large-scale conjoint experiment in India. I find that though research to date suggests voters prefer married female candidates, voters in the urban Indian setting are indifferent to women's marital status. Rather, voters overwhelmingly decide on female candidates based on their party affiliation, along with dynastic status and profession. Moreover, they tend to punish women with more than one child. The findings bear into question whether parties put forth candidates that align with voters' interests and whether theories of representation hold in the Indian setting.

Datasets & Funding - South Asia

Datasets on South Asia

Funding Sources

Below is a list of research funding sources for Ph.D. students studying South Asia. I’ll keep updating it over time. If there are any resources I have missed, please feel free to e-mail me and I’d be happy to add them.

For additional sources, check out UCLA’s excellent Graduate Education database and NYU’s Social Science guide for grants and proposals.

General Grants with deadline cycles
Grants for University of California System
  • UCHRI: (1) Graduate Student Dissertation Support grant for ABD students who have finished at least one chapter of their candidacy (2) Medicine & Humanities grant for ABD students in the social sciences working on a medicine-focused dissertation project
  • Data Acquisition and Access Program: for UC Berkeley students only to acquire datasets that can be made public; fall
  • IIS’s pre-dissertation and dissertation grants: for UC Berkeley students only, spring

Adapted from Hugo's Theme Resume