Research Areas

Gender and Economics; International Development; International Trade and Migration; The South Asian Economy; Agrarian Studies 


Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst B.A./M.A., Birla Institute of Technology and Science (India) 


Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Smriti Rao

Smriti Rao

Smriti Rao

I am an associate professor of economics and global studies at Assumption College in Worcester MA. My research is motivated by a desire to understand the ways in which economic inequalities intersect with gender inequalities in developing countries such as India. I have become especially interested in patterns of women's migration, leading to my current research project on women's internal migration in India. My working hypothesis is that changing patterns of women's marriage migration indicate greater attention to matching class status within India's arranged marriage system, serving to reinforce class-within-caste inequality. While economists have documented growing economic inequalities in post-liberalization India, few have looked within the realm of the family for social mechanisms that might bring about this outcome. The marriage migration of women may be one such key mechanism that needs to be better understood.

Current Projects

Women’s internal migration in India is an understudied topic. My goal is to better understand the ways in which women’s internal migration in India differs from that of men, specifically focussing on the causes and consequences of the growing prevalence of women’s marriage migration and an accompanying decline in economic migration by women. 

Representative Publications

Rao Smriti and Christina Presenti. “An Empirical Analysis of the Determinants of Human Trafficking”. Feminist Economics, 18 (2), pp 231-263 (2012). 

Rao Smriti. “Work and Empowerment: Women in Agriculture in South India”. Journal of Development Studies, 47(2), pp 294-215 (2011).