Smriti Rao, Ph.D

Department Chair, Economics, Finance and Accounting

Professor of Economics

Global Studies Program Director

508-767-7565 Tsotsis Family Academic Center - Room 229

Dr. Rao’s teaching and research interests lie in the areas of development economics, gender and development, and feminist economics. Her research is particularly focused on understanding gendered patterns of labor and migration in India. At Assumption, she teaches courses ranging from Principles of Microeconomics to Economic Development, International Trade, and International Finance, and a course on India, China, and the US: Comparative Economic Systems.


B.A., Birla Institute of Technology

M.A., Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2005


Forthcoming. Migration: Differentiated Mobility under Capitalism in Radical Political Economics: Principles, Perspectives, and Post-Capitalist Futures, edited by Mona Ali and Ann E Davis. Routledge.

Forthcoming. Social Reproduction and Inequality in Feminist Political Economy in The Springer Handbook on Inequality, edited by S. Jodhka and B. Rehbein. Springer.

2023. with Smita Ramnarain, Sirisha Naidu, Anupama Uppal and Avanti Mukherjee. Work and Social Reproduction in Rural India: Lessons from Time-Use data. Journal of Agrarian Change.

with Smita Ramnarain. 2022. Gender, Social Protection and Crises of Social Reproduction: Contextualizing NREGA. Review of Radical Political Economics, Special issue on Gender and Radical Political Economy, 55(1).

2021. Labor and Social Reproduction in The Edward Elgar Handbook of Critical Agrarian Studies, edited by Haroon Akram-Lodhi, Kristina Dietz, Bettina Engels, Ben McKay. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing. pp 99-108.

2021. How (not) to count Indian women’s work: Gendered Analyses and the Periodic Labor Force Survey. Review of Agrarian Studies 11(2).

2021. Beyond the Coronavirus: Understanding Crises of Social Reproduction. Global Labour Journal 12(1). DOI:

with Sarah Gammage, Julia Arnold and Elizabeth Armstrong. 2021. Human Mobility, Covid-19 and Policy Responses: The Rights and Claims-Making of Migrant Domestic Workers. Feminist Economics, 27(1-2), pp.254-270.

with Haroon Akram-Lodhi. 2021. Feminist Political Economy in The Routledge Handbook of Feminist Economics, edited by Günseli Berik and Ebru Kongar. New York: Routledge. pp 34-42.

with Smita Ramnarain. 2020. Women’s Participation in NREGA: A Literature Review in Women’s Work in Rural India, edited by Shruti Nagbhushan, Madhura Swaminathan and V K Ramchandran. New Delhi: Tullika Publishers.

with Vamsi Vakulabharanam. 2019. Migration, Crises and Social Transformation in India after the 1990s in Handbook of Migration Crises, Eds. Cecilia Menjivar, Marie Ruiz, Immanuel Ness. Oxford University Press. 

Gender and Class Relations in Rural India. 2018. Journal of Peasant Studies, 45(5-6), pp 950-968.

2018. Gender and Financial Inclusion through the Post in Naoyuki Yoshino, José Ansón, and Matthias Helble, eds. Postal Savings: Reaching Everyone in Asia. Asian Development Bank Institute. 226-267.

2017. Women in the Urban Indian Economy: What Can the Data on Migration Tell Us? In  Gender and Time Use in a Global Context, edited by in Kongar, E. and R Connelly. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp 231-260.

with Kade Finnoff. 2015. Marriage Migration and Inequality in India 1983-2008. Population and Development Review, 41(3), pp 485-505. 

with Hazel Jean Malapit. 2014. Gender, Household Structure and Financial Participation in the United States. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 35(3), pp 1-15. 

with Christina Presenti. 2012. Understanding Human Trafficking Origin: A Cross-country Empirical Analysis. Feminist Economics, 18 (2), pp 231-263.

2011. Work and Empowerment: Women in Agriculture in South India. Journal of Development Studies, 47(2), pp 294-215

2008. Reforms with a Female Face: Gender, Liberalization and Economic Policy in Andhra Pradesh. World Development, 36 (7), pp. 1213-32 

2005. Women’s Self-Help Groups and Credit for the Poor: A Case Study from Andhra Pradesh in V.K. Ramachandran and M Swaminathan eds. Financial Liberalization, Rural Banking and Credit Markets in India. New Delhi: Tullika Publishers, 2005.

Working Papers and Book Reviews

with Sirisha Naidu. 2022. Time Use Data in Feminist Political Economy Analyses: Gender and Class in the Indian Time Use Survey. Political Economy Research Institute, Working Paper 564.

with Smita Ramnarain, Sirisha Naidu, Anupama Uppal, and Avanti Mukherjee. 2021. Work and Social Reproduction in Rural India: Lessons from Time-Use Data. Political Economy Research Institute, Working Paper 535. 

with Sirisha Naidu. 2018. Reproductive Labor and Female Labor Force Participation in India. Political Economy Research Institute, Working Paper 458. 

2017. Book Review of “Gender, Development, and Globalization: Economics As If All People Mattered”, Second edition. Lourdes Beneria, Gunseli Berik and Maria Floro, eds. Review of Radical Political Economy, July 2017.

2016. Indicators of gendered control over agricultural resources: A guide for agricultural policy and research. Working Paper No. 1. CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network, CGIAR Consortium Office, and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Cali, Colombia. 


United Nations Development Program, Georgia (UNDP). February 2022.International Expert Review of Women’s Economic Empowerment Conceptual Framework. 

International Center for Research on Women. Feb 20, 2020-May 2020. Technical consulting on analysis of economic empowerment and livelihoods.