Meet 2019 Centennial Center Research Grant Recipient Tanushree Goyal

Tanushree Goyal is a PhD student at the University of Oxford, Nuffield College. She received funding from the Centennial Center Research Grants program for her project “The Causal Effects of Minority Representation and Quota Policy on Candidate Supply and Electoral Participation: Experimental Evidence from Urban India.” from the Ostrom Fund. 

Goyal’s research interests lie at the intersections of comparative politics, gender, and development with a regional focus in South Asia. Her research uses natural, survey, and quasi-experiments to examine important questions in the field of representation and accountability and is mainly set in the context of the World’s largest democracy – India. Her book project argues that female politicians affect change by incorporating women into intermediary roles in politics. This “representation from below” fundamentally alters democracy and government for good. The book contributes by drawing attention to the absence of women (and minorities) in intermediary politics and its consequences for women’s substantive representation and political careers.

Goyal used the APSA centennial grant to collect urgent data during state elections in Delhi in Feb 2020 (just before the COVID lockdown) and was successful in procuring additional data from state election archives.

She hired research assistants to help digitize and code pdf data into usable formats and finish a paper, titled “Local Female Representation as a Pathway to Power: A Natural Experiment in India”, which is available as a working paper on SSRN. She also uses this qualitative evidence in her other paper, titled – “How Women Mobilize Women into Politics: A Natural Experiment in India” (also available as a working paper on SSRN). Her research assistant is also conducting phone interviews with incumbent municipal councilors in Delhi to collect data on political organizations, networks, entry point into politics, etc. This data will help to gain a better understanding of the pathways through which men and women launch and sustain their political careers, something people know relatively little about in the Indian context.

She plans to to submit her dissertation in July, and will subsequently join the Harvard Academy in Fall 2020, where she will continue to develop her book project and papers. She will then join Princeton as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2022. In the coming months, she will focus on completing ongoing projects while waiting for the lockdown to be lifted to pursue other field experiments. In the near future, she is planning a survey and field experiment with male and female councilors in Delhi to understand whether and how gender identity can be an asset or a roadblock in political organization building.


Since 2003, the Centennial Center for Political Science and Public Affairs has offered scholars a wide selection of funds that can be applied to the costs of research, including travel, interviews, access to archives, or costs for a research assistant. The typical Centennial Center grant for an individual scholar is between $1,000 and $2,500, but can reach a maximum size of $10,000 for workshops and events or projects in support of the profession, depending on the research fund and the nature of the grant proposal. The next application deadline is June 15. Learn more and apply!

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