Upasak Das

Upasak Das


Personal profile


Upasak Das is currently working as a Presidential Fellow on Economics of Poverty Reduction at the Global Development Institute in the University of Manchester. He joined the institute in February, 2020. Prior to that he worked as a post doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania after working as an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Centre for Development Studies in Trivandrum, India. He completed his PhD from the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai.

He is also an affiliate of the Centre for Social Norms and Behavioral Dynamics with the University of Pennsylvania, where he is working on social networks and social norms surroundinging sanitation in India and breast feeding and child marraige in Mali. Apart from social norms, Upasak's research interests revolve around development economics, applied econometrics, education, poverty, health, political economy and labour economics. He has worked extensively on the rural public works programme in India and is also working on different issues on education. 

For more information, please visit https://sites.google.com/site/upasakdas/home


(a)    Ph.D. from Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR), Mumbai, India, awarded on July, 2015.

Thesis title: Evaluation of the 100-Days Work Programme in West Bengal.

(b)   M.Sc in Economics (2009), IGIDR, Mumbai, India

(c)    B.Sc in Physics (2007), Hansraj College, University of Delhi, Delhi, India 

Research interests

Development economics, applied econometrics, public health, poverty, education, social norms, political economy


Development Economics, Applied Econometrics for policy evaluation, social norms theory, Economics of Education.

Media contributions and coverage

(a) “Covid-19 spread: Does social and economic diversity matter?”, (Upasak Das, Udayan Rathore and Prasenjit Sarkhel), Ideas for India, Jan 15, 2021 (Available at: https://www.ideasforindia.in/topics/social-identity/covid-19-spread-does-social-and-economic-diversity-matter.html)

(b) “Stepping out of the shadow of India’s malnutrition”, The Hindu editorial page, November 28, 2020 (with Amartya Paul) (Available at https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/stepping-out-of-the-shadow-of-indias-malnutrition/article33195963.ece)

(c) “Afghanistan er cheye pichiye”, Anandabazar Patrika editorial page, November 5, 2020 (with Amartya Paul) (in Bengali) (Available at https://www.anandabazar.com/editorial/india-lags-behind-afghanistan-in-terms-of-hunger-1.1224498)

(d) “Targeting and the impacts of India’s MGNREGS”, Project Note March 2020. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). (with Y. Liu; Barrett, C.B. Barrett; N.H. Chau; K. Deininger; Gustafson, S. Gustafon; S. Narayanan; Sheahan, M. Sheahan; and V. Soundararajan) https://doi.org/10.2499/p15738coll2.133768

(e)    “School e asche, shikche naa”, Anandabazar Patrika editorial page, March 16, 2020 (with Prasenjit Sarkhel) (in Bengali) (Available at https://www.anandabazar.com/editorial/more-number-of-students-are-enrolling-under-kanyashree-scheme-every-year-but-question-remains-1.1122881?fbclid=IwAR2RMDBTBc8GYz2sJ_vjxxrNNfLUZxHXrBFPu3-A6RWgWSenzilDAeu4nVs)

(f) “Where women stand in Economics academia”, The Hindu Business Line, November 9, 2019 (with Ambrish Dongre and Karan Singhal) (Available at https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/where-women-stand-in-economics-academia/article29930440.ece)

(g) “Sarbajanin Shreebriddhi”, Anandabazar Patrika editorial page, March 16, 2019 (with Amartya Paul) (in Bengali) (Available at https://www.anandabazar.com/editorial/after-the-success-of-kanyashree-does-government-planning-any-scheme-for-boys-1.966480)

(h)  “Compelled to work for wages: The story of old age wage labour participation in India” (Ashish Singh and Upasak Das), OpenPop.org, an Oxford University-based blog on global population issues (Available at: http://www.openpop.org/?p=1343)

(i)   “Is the MNREGA fund crunch making the programme clientelistic?” (Upasak Das and D. Maiorano), Ideas for India, Sept 2, 2015 (Available at: http://www.ideasforindia.in/article.aspx?article_id=1497)

(j)    “Assessing the quality and usefulness of MNREGA assets in Maharashtra” (Upasak Das, A. Kulkarni, S. Narayanan and K. Ranaware), Ideas for India, Dec 5, 2014. (Available at: http://ideasforindia.in/article.aspx?article_id=383)

(k)   “How gender inclusive is MNREGA in practice”, Ideas for India, Nov 21, 2014. (single authored) (Available at: http://ideasforindia.in/article.aspx?article_id=376)

(l)    “Political Clientelism in MNREGA: Evidence from West Bengal”, (single authored), Ideas for India, June 25, 2014 (Available at: http://ideasforindia.in/article.aspx?article_id=303)

(m)    “Survey shows discrepancy in NREGS”, The Asian Age, Kolkata, September 25, 2009 (single authored).

Prizes and awards

(a)   Received the “Sanjay Lall Best Student Paper Award” for 2015-16 by the journal, Oxford Development Studies. 

(b) Received the “Science Meritorious Award” for the year 2004-05 from Hansraj College, University of Delhi


Upasak would be interested in supervising highly-motivated students working on issus related to education, poverty, labour economics, political economy and impact evaluation with rigorous usage of quantitative methods

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor of Science, Hansraj College (University of Delhi)

Master of Economics, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research

External positions

Post Doctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania

Jan 2017Feb 2020

Assistant Professor, Centre for Development Studies

Dec 2014Jan 2017

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Global Development Institute


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