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) 

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

Studies of economic business cycles have not accounted for gender inequality in wealth distribution. While we know that the medium term labor market impact of the Great Recession was worse for female workers, we know less about the gendered wealth impacts of the recession. I hope to fill this gap using panel data from the 2007-2009 US Survey of Consumer Finance.

Representative Publications

Rao Smriti and Kade Finnoff.  Forthcoming. "Forgetting my father's home: Marriage Migration in India 1983-2008". Population and Development Review.

Rao, Smriti. Forthcoming. "Gender and Financial Inclusion through the Posts".  UN Women and Universal Postal Union (UPU) Policy Paper.