Professor Amrita Dhillon
Professor of Economics
Date started at King’s
Challenges and achievements
When and what was responsible for you becoming interested in your academic discipline?
My very inspiring teacher at The Delhi School of Economics, Professor Kaushik Basu who gave very interesting lectures on individual decision making.
What are your research interests, and what drew you to this area?
I am interested in the intersection of politics and economics- how collective decisions are made in a society are extremely relevant for the economy. I was puzzled that economics could be taught separately from politics when I interned at the World Bank and saw how decisions on foreign aid were made without any concern as to who was receiving the aid and what their incentives were. This was the point at which I decided to focus on political economy.
Tell us about a couple of your achievements that have been particularly rewarding.
I am a member of the council of the Royal Economic Society, and it is very rewarding to see how the society advances the profession especially the junior members. I was also a fellow at the prestigious Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton in 2010. The year I spent in Princeton was undeniably the most productive and rewarding time I have had in academia with the luxury of being able to focus entirely on research.
Do you have professional role models? Who are they and what do you find inspiring about them and their accomplishments?
Yes, my role models are women scientists and economists who have shown that they can succeed in a world which does not have a level playing field for women. Professor Myrna Wooders who was a colleague of mine is one such person. She is one of the few women who is a fellow of the Econometric Society and one of the best known scholars in Economic Theory.
What if any support has most benefited you in your career?
The support I receive from other women has benefitted me the most in my career. At King’s, I enjoy the interdisciplinary environment and the access to world class research in diverse fields such as medicine and literature.
What do you feel is the most enjoyable/rewarding aspect of your job at King’s?
One of the most rewarding aspects of my job at King’s is the people you get to work with. Both in my own Department (Social Science, Health & Medicine) and through my various roles on School committees, I have had the good fortune to meet some really interesting and bright individuals. The people who are attracted to work at King’s often have strong opinions and are not afraid to say what they think.
How do you balance the various demands of a career in academia: research, teaching/learning, administration?
I do not balance it well. I do not have children and I find myself working seven days a week…I wonder how women with children can manage this challenge.
How do you balance an academic career with life outside the workplace?
I learn Indian classical dance and once a week for two hours I can relax with that. I enjoy the different kind of mental activity that it requires.
What have you learnt from your experiences that you would like to share with others?
Try to find out what you are passionate about early in your career even if it requires going through a few dead ends. The investment is worth it. Learn to be organized early on!