Sunil Mitra Kumar

Senior Lecturer in Economics, King's College London



Work in Progress

Other writing

Research grants




I'm an economist at the King's India Institute and Department of International Development at King's College London, and I work on questions of causal inference in development using observational data, particularly in the context of discrimination and inequality. I am an Associate Editor for the Journal of Development Studies and Economia Politica, and am currently leading an ESRC-funded project on the role of small firms in UK-India trade.

I received my PhD in Economics from the University of East Anglia, MA in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics, and BA (Hons.) in Mathematics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University. Before embarking on my PhD I worked for the Social Initiatives Group of ICICI Bank, an erstwhile major funder of non-profit activities in India.


Poor economics and its missing mechanisms: The case for causal mediation

(with Ragupathy Venkatachalam)

Review of Development Economics, 2023

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Relative Deprivation and Hey and Lambert’s Motivation: Mixed Methods Evidence from Rio de Janeiro

(with Lucio Esposito, Adrián Villaseñor & Roney Fraga )

Journal of Income Distribution (forthcoming)

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Counterfactual thinking and causal mediation: An application to female labour force participation in India

(with Ying-Fang Kao)

in Artificial Intelligence, Learning and Computation in Economics and Finance. (Ed. Ragupathy Venkatachalam), 2023, New York: Springer.

Abstract (click to expand)

Discrimination in Credit

in Handbook on Economics of Discrimination and Affirmative Action (Ed. Ashwini Deshpande), 2022, New Delhi: Springer.

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Economic Structures and Dynamics: A Morphogenetic View

(with Ragupathy Venkatachalam)

Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 2021

Abstract (click to expand)

The Importance of Being Earliest: Birth Order and Educational Outcomes along the Socioeconomic Ladder in Mexico

(with Lucio Esposito & Adrián Villaseñor)

Journal of Population Economics, 33: 1069–1099, 2020

Abstract (click to expand)

Caste and credit: A woeful tale?

(with Ragupathy Venkatachalam)

Journal of Development Studies, 55(8): 1816-1833, 2019

Abstract (click to expand)

Ideas for India article

Comparing private and government schools in India: The devil is in the maths

Applied Economics Letters, 25(6): 409-414, 2018

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RCTs for better policy? The case of public systems in developing countries

Economia Politica, 33: 83-98, 2016

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Does Access to Institutional Agricultural Credit Depend on Caste?

World Development, 43: 315-328, 2013

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Ideas for India article.

Other writing

For gender pay equality, universities must let social scientists see the data

Times Higher Education. (April 28 2022)

A (small) step along the way to a UK-India trade deal

UK in a Changing Europe. (May 25, 2021)

Data and a public health crisis

The Indian Express. (June 3, 2020)

Caste and credit: A woeful tale?

With Ragupathy Venkatachalam. IHDS newsletter (December 2018)

Caste and credit: Not such a woeful tale?

With Ragupathy Venkatachalam. Ideas for India blog (September 2017)

Does caste influence access to agricultural loans in rural India?

Ideas for India blog (June 2013)

Is there a case for school vouchers?

Economic and Political Weekly, 65(7): 41-45, 2010

Economic methodology and the promise of behavioural approaches

Norwich Economic Papers, (2010), Vol. 1

Work in progress

Causal inference for discrimination: An analysis of police stop-and-frisk decisions

With Ragupathy Venkatachalam

The absolute and relative facets of the economic gradient in educational attainment: mixed methods evidence from Rio de Janeiro

With Lucio Esposito, Adrián Villaseñor and Roney Fraga Souza

Research grants

Enablers and Obstacles for UK-India Trade: Banks and Diasporas (as PI)

ESRC-ICSSR grant, £431,070 (2020)

With Kamini Gupta and Prateek Raj

Health system decentralisation and the COVID-19 Response in India (PI: Louise Tillin)

King’s Faculty Research Fund, £7,936 (2020)

DecovIndia website

Social and Economic Dimensions of Health and Morbidity (PI: Ashwini Deshpande)

Wellcome Trust Small Grant in Humanities and Social Science, £25000 (2019)

Caste in Contemporary India

King’s College London Faculty Research Fund, £4000 (2018)


Quantitative methods for causal inference


Dissertation research methods


Economic analysis for emerging economies: microeconomics


India's economy: Structures, policies and challenges



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