Avidit Acharya is an associate professor of political science, and an associate professor, by courtesy, of political economy in the Graduate School of Business, at Stanford University. He is also a faculty affiliate of the Center for South Asia and the Center on Global Poverty and Development, both at Stanford.
Acharya’s research is broadly concerned with how groups of individuals interact to make decisions, through voting, bargaining, information sharing, and delegation of authority. His work on these topics has been published in the top journals of economic theory and political science, including Econometrica, the Journal of Economic Theory, and the Journal of Politics.
A second major stream of Acharya’s research is concerned with how societies evolve over time, and how historical forces and events can cast a long shadow on the present. His book Deep Roots: How Slavery Still Shapes Southern Politics (coauthored with Matt Blackwell and Maya Sen) shows that contemporary differences in political attitudes across counties in the American South trace their origins in part to slavery’s prevalence more than 150 years ago. This work received the American Political Science Association’s 2019 William H. Riker Book Award for best book in political economy published within the past three years. In another book-length project, tentatively titled The Cartel System of States, he and Alexander Lee study the modern territorial state system through the lens of oligopoly theory, tracing the development of the system from its creation in post-Medieval Europe to its spread across the world via Western influence, and international institutions.
Acharya has written several other articles on topics that include distributive politics in India, insurgency in Nepal, and the consequences of statelessness in Somalia.
Acharya earned his PhD in political economy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and taught in the economics and political science departments of the University of Rochester before joining the Stanford faculty.