Smita Ramnarain

  • Associate Professor
  • 812 Chafee Office Hours; T*TH 3:00-4:00/By Appointment
  • Email:
  • Office Location: 812 Chafee Social Science Center
    Dept. of Economics
    University of Rhode Island
    Kingston RI 02881


Dr. Smita Ramnarain’s (she/her/hers) research interests lie at the intersection of political economy, development, and feminist economics. Her work has focused on the gendered political economy of development in the global South, particularly in South Asia. In her work, she examines the gendered impact of economic policies and programs in contexts of economic, social, political, or environmental upheaval (war, complex emergencies, climate change, and/or agrarian crisis) and the consequences of these changes on women’s wellbeing. Her work has been published in diverse and interdisciplinary fora – such as Development and Change, Feminist Economics, Gender Pace & Culture, the Community Development Journal and the Forum for Social Economics – and in edited volumes, including the Handbook of Gender in Asia and the Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Heterodox Economics. Dr. Ramnarain uses mixed methods in her research and has carried out field work in India and Nepal. Besides principles courses ECN 201 and ECN 202, Dr. Ramnarain teaches ECN 363: Economic Growth and Development and ECN 386: Economics of Race, Gender and Class. She has mentored several motivated undergraduate students with their research projects on diverse topics such as the current role of China in African economies, on parental leave policies in Nordic countries compared to the US, and on students’ gendered attitudes towards time.


Political economy of social inequality (race, class, and gender), economic development, the economics of war and peace, and microfinance.

Selected Publications

(with Smriti Rao) ‘Understanding Women’s Participation in NREGA,’ in Madhura Swaminathan, V.K. Ramachandran and Shruti Nagabhushan (eds.), Women’s Work in Rural EconomiesFoundation for Agrarian Studies and Tulika Publishers, India, 2020, forthcoming.

‘Exploring the Continuum: Gender-based Violence and Security in Nepal’s Transition to Peace’ in Shirlena Huang and Kanchana Ruwanpura (eds.), The Handbook of Gender in Asia,  2020, Edward Elgar, forthcoming.

(with Pratistha Joshi-Rajkarnikar) Female Headship and Women’s Work in Nepal,  2019, Feminist Economics, forthcoming.

(with Kalpana Venkatasubramanian) ‘Gender and Adaptation to Climate Change: Perspectives from Pastoral Communities in Gujarat, India,’ Development and Change, 2018, 49 (6), 1580-1604.

(with Ashley Provencher) ‘Class Debates as an Instructional Tool in Intermediate Level Microeconomics,’ Forum for Social Economics, 2018, 48 (4), 354-372.


‘Unpacking Female Headship and Agency in Post-Conflict Nepal.’ Feminist Economics, 2016, 22(1), 80-105 .

‘Universalized Categories, Dissonant Realities: Gendering Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Nepal.’ Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 2015, 22(9), 1305-1322.

‘Interrogating Women’s Peace Work: Community-based Peacebuilding, Gender, and Savings’ Co-operatives in Post-conflict Nepal.’ Community Development Journal, 2015, 50(4), 677-692.

‘The political economy of peacebuilding: The case of women’s cooperatives in Nepal.’ Economics of Peace and Security Journal, 2013, 8(2), 25-33.


(with Amit Basole) ‘Qualitative and Ethnographic Methods in Economics.’ In Lee, Fred and Bruce Cronin (eds.), Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Heterodox Economics, Edward Elgar, 2016.

(with Lynda Pickbourn) ‘Separate or Symbiotic? Quantitative, Qualitative and Historical Methods in (Heterodox) Economic Research.’ In Lee, Fred and Bruce Cronin (eds.), Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Heterodox Economics, Edward Elgar, 2016.