Economic history of modern and early-modern South Asia; particular interests include industrialization, labour and employment, and historiography.
A current writing project is a book (with Anand Swamy) on the origins of property and contract law in India. The pluralist legal tradition that emerged in colonial India makes any one received model of institutional evolution (focusing either on colonial ideas or Indian tradition) hard to apply to this region. The book explores the interplay of a variety of factors, including the use of law in commodity and factor markets to explain legal evolution. Another research theme is regional inequality in colonial India. Was nineteenth century India catching up with the industrial world or falling behind? The answer should depend on which region within India is considered. An ongoing work asks, what is a good strategy to study the historical pattern of regional inequality.