Rikhil R. Bhavnani

Position title: Associate Chair & Director of Graduate Studies | Professor: Comparative Politics | Political Methodology

Email: bhavnani@wisc.edu

Phone: (608) 262-5638

322B North Hall


Ph.D. in Political Science, Stanford University, 2010

M.A. in Economics, Stanford University, 2008

MSc. Development Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2003

B.A. Economics and Political Science, Yale University, 2000


Rikhil R. Bhavnani is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he serves as the Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies. He is also a Faculty Affiliate at the La Follette School of Public Affairs, the Elections Research Center and the Center for South Asia. Bhavnani previously served as the Faculty Director for the Center for South Asia.

Professor Bhavnani’s research and teaching focus on the political economy of development and migration, and on inequalities in political representation, mainly in India. He is currently working on a book, joint with Saumitra Jha, on the conditions under which mass, nonviolent mobilizations can succeed. He is the co-author, with Bethany Lacina, of a book on the backlash against within-country migration across the developing world, published by Cambridge University Press. Bhavnani’s papers have been published in various journals, including the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics.

Prior to starting at UW–Madison, Professor Bhavnani was a visiting fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University. He has worked at the Center for Global Development and the International Monetary Fund, and received a PhD in political science and an MA in economics from Stanford University, and a BA in political science and economics from Yale University. His preferred pronouns are he/him/his.


PS 919: Survey Experiments Spring 2023

PS 800: Political Science as a Discipline and Profession Fall 2022-2023

PS 801: Dissertation Proposal Research and Writing Fall 2022-2023

PS 948: Democratic Imperfections Spring 2021-2022

PS 856: Field Seminar in Comparative Politics Fall 2021-2022

PS 330: Political Economy of Development Spring 2020-2021

PS 817: Empirical Methods of Political Inquiry Spring 2020-2021

PS 330: Political Economy of Development Fall 2020-2021

PS 843: Political Economy of Development Fall 2020-2021

PS 948: Seminar: Topics in Comparative Politics Fall 2018-2019

PS 817: Empirical Methods of Political Inquiry Fall 2018-2019

PS 948: Political Inequality Spring 2017-2018

PS 330: Political Economy of Development Fall 2017-2018

PS 327: Indian Politics in Comparative Perspective Fall 2017-2018

PS 948: Political Economy of Development Spring 2016-2017

PS 601: Indian Politics in Comparative Perspective Spring 2016-2017

PS 948: Political Inequality: Measures, Causes, Effects and Remedies Spring 2015-2016

PS 601: Indian Politics in Comparative Perspective Spring 2015-2016

PS 401: The Political Economy of Development Fall 2015-2016

PS 401: Political Inequality: Measures, Causes, Effects and Remedies Fall 2015-2016



Vilas Associates Award, Social Studies Division


Royal Economic Society Prize for the best unsolicited paper published in The Economic Journal in 2012, for “Counting Chickens When They Hatch: Timing and the Effects of Aid on Growth.”

Hear from Professor Bhavnani on this episode of the 1050 Bascom Podcast!