About Vijayendra Rao

Vijayendra (Biju) Rao, a Lead Economist in the Research Department of the World Bank, integrates his training in economics with theories and methods from anthropology, sociology and political science to study the social, cultural, and political context of extreme poverty in developing countries.

He leads the Social Observatory, an inter-disciplinary effort to improve the conversation between citizens and governments. It does this – first – by improving the quality of civic action by strengthening forums for deliberation and developing tools to facilitate collective action, and – second – by building the “adaptive capacity” of large-scale anti-poverty projects;  i.e. the ability of projects to make everyday decisions, and modify project design, on the basis of high-quality descriptive, evaluative and process-oriented information.

His research has spanned a wide variety of subjects including participatory development, deliberative democracy, the rise in dowries in India, the determinants and consequences of domestic violence, the economics of sex work, public celebrations, and culture and development policy.