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Louise Tillin

Professor Louise Tillin

Professor of Politics

Currently on sabbatical until August 2024

Research interests

  • International development
  • Policy
  • Politics

Biography

Louise Tillin is a Professor of Politics in the King’s India Institute.

Louise’s research interests span federalism, democracy and territorial politics in India, and the history and politics of social policy design and implementation. Her books include Remapping India: New States and their Political Origins (Hurst & Co/Oxford University Press, 2013), Politics of Welfare: Comparisons across Indian States, edited with Rajeshwari Deshpande and KK Kailash (New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2015), Indian Federalism (New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2019) and The Politics of Poverty Reduction in India: The UPA Government, 2004 to 2014 (with James Chiriyankandath, Diego Maiorano and James Manor) (New Delhi, Orient Blackswan, 2020).

Her new book Making India Work: The Development of Welfare in a Multi-Level Democracy (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming) is a history of the development of social policy in India over the last century. The book points to the centrality of dilemmas about employment generation to the design of India’s welfare architecture. It also demonstrates the significance of welfare policies as a component of the building of India’s national economy and polity in the decades before and after Independence from British colonial rule in 1947. As the book shows, the ideas and interests that have shaped the historical design of social policies continue to shape India’s welfare regime today.

Other recent research, supported by the British Academy and conducted in collaboration with Oliver Heath, Sanjay Kumar, Jyoti Mishra and Sandhya Venkateswaran, has examined electoral perceptions around health in India. A summary of this research can be accessed here.

Louise has previously led research projects on subnational comparative politics and social policy in India (British Academy International Partnership, with Lokniti/CSDS), on explaining electoral change in urban and rural India (Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)), and on India’s Political Economy (UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) Trilateral Partnership with UC Berkeley and Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR). Between 2013-7, she was part of a multi-country research programme on the politics of reducing poverty and inequality across Brazil, China, India and South Africa supported by the ESRC. Louise held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2018-19) for a project on Welfare and Capitalism in India: A Political History. She was also the King’s Principal Investigator on the Horizon 2020 European Training Network Global India led by Dublin City University. She is Managing Editor of the journal Regional and Federal Studies, and an editorial advisory board member of Pacific Affairs.

Before joining King’s in 2011, Louise was Joyce Lambert Research Fellow in Politics at Newnham College, Cambridge. Louise holds a DPhil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex. She was a Thouron Scholar (MA South Asia Regional Studies) at the University of Pennsylvania and has a BA (Hons) History from Cambridge.

Research

  • Federalism, democracy and territorial politics
  • History and politics of Indian social policy
  • Political economy of development in India
  • Subnational comparative politics

Teaching

Undergraduate/Postgraduate

  • 6YYD0021/7YYD0034 Governing Complex Societies: Federalism, Decentralisation and Development

Further details

See Louise's research profile

    Research

    Global India European Training Network

    Global India is a Horizon 2020 funded, Marie Curie European Training Network providing integrated training in research and transferable skills to PhD students

    Project status: Ongoing

    London
    Political Economy & Institutions research group

    Dissecting the problems of change, particularly looking at how societies face the challenge of becoming richer and more democratic.

    dan-freeman-G4E6PcOt4Ps-unsplash
    Global South Research Group

    The Global South research group brings together scholars engaged in research on international political and economic trends, non-European perspectives, and south-south comparisons.

    Urbanisation
    Urbanisation, Rural Development and Social Transformations research group

    A research group examining urban-rural development and its effect on the developing world.

    News

    New research suggests that health is a larger concern for Indian voters than previously believed

    The first-ever survey on electoral perceptions around health in India shows that health, though not a top priority, does influence voting decisions.

    Voters lining up to cast their vote, India

    India's foreign policy geared towards securing national interest and maximising opportunities

    India’s High Commissioner to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami spoke about India’s foreign policy and trade relations, in a lecture hosted by King’s India Institute.

    India's High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami delivering a lecture to an audience at King's

    King's India Institute celebrates ten years of impact

    Now in its 10th year, the King’s India Institute has been celebrating its many achievements and the importance of deepening public understanding of...

    King's India Institute 10th anniversary graphics

    Indian Supreme Court judge addresses courts' role in protecting human rights

    On Monday 20 June, Honourable Dr Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, from India’s Supreme Court, addressed an audience of over 200 people at an event organised by...

    Chandrachud - Portrait 2 0045chandrachud 9001

    Director of King's India Institute wins Best Article Award

    Professor Louise Tillin’s article ‘Building a National Economy: Origin of Centralized Federalism in India’ has won the John Kincaid Best Article Award,...

    Louise Tillin at King's India Institute 10th anniversary reception (credit: David Tett)

    Examining the economic and social impact of COVID-19 on India

    A new website from the King's India Institute presents a real-time picture of COVID-19's impact on individual states across India.

    Two men wear face coverings while on emergency transport in India

    Lines in the Hills: Indo-Chinese Rivalry in the Himalayas

    Following a clash at the Himalayan border in mid-June – the most violent confrontation between India and China in decades – the King’s India Institute and Lau...

    A village in the Indian Himalayas

    Events

    19JunIndia elections 2024

    Elections in the World’s Largest Democracy: How Does This Reshape Global Politics

    Journalist and anchor Sonia Singh will deliver this seminar at the King's India Institute.

    06JunIndia elections 2024 reduced

    2024 and Beyond: The Implications of India’s Election Results

    Roundtable discussion with Christophe Jaffrelot, Louise Tillin, Anit Mukherjee and Sunil Mitra Kumar.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    31Jan61Lk9lH5vjL._SL1276_

    The Colonial Constitution: An Origin Story

    This talk delves into the writings of Indian leaders and debates around the Constitution.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    02FebUnsettling developments

    Unsettling developments: How different 'value(s)' of land influence outcomes of a Special Economic Zone in rural India

    A seminar by Dr Soumya Mishra

    Please note: this event has passed.

    09FebUK and India flags

    India’s Foreign Policy and Trade Relations

    King’s India Institute will host India’s High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Vikram K Doraiswami for a lecture.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    21Junsouth asia satellite2

    Change and continuity in South Asia: Unpacking identity, security and technology

    Join Kriti Kapila and Rohan Mukherjee for the keynote address, opening the 2022 King's India Institute Graduate Conference.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    06JunIndia slum

    Maids in movement: Unionising domestic workers in India

    Hear from Professor Samita Sen (University of Cambridge) on the class, gender, domestic workers and unions as part of the British Association of South Asian...

    Please note: this event has passed.

    01FebIndia on the globe

    India as a Strategic Actor in the Indo-Pacific: Perspectives from US, UK, Europe and Russia

    The panel discussion is a part of King’s India Institute's special session series, India in the Indo-Pacific.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    21OctBoats on Indian ocean

    India in the Indo-Pacific: drivers and constraints

    This event will explore the factors that are shaping India’s policy approach towards the region, as well as major constraints that affect India’s Indo-Pacific...

    Please note: this event has passed.

    01JulSpring in Kashmir Valley

    Religion in India: Discussion of Pew Research Center Survey

    King’s India Institute is hosting a discussion of a major new survey of religion across India conducted by Pew Research Center.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    Features

    The political economy of populism in India

    PROFESSOR LOUISE TILLIN explores the sources of populism in India, its recent developments, and what this means for the 2024 general elections.

    Supporters of Narendra Modi holding up banners of his image

    A democratic health check: why India shows the need for democracies to prioritise healthcare

    Dr Louise Tillin and Sandhya Venkateswaran discuss the politics and democracy of healthcare in India as part of the Build Back Better Together essay series.

    G7 Summit Flags

    DecovIndia – interdisciplinary research at King's in times of a pandemic

    A look into collaborative working on the DecovIndia Project at King's during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    DecovIndia project map

    Spotlight

    Reimagining India's health system

    Why is that India's voters appear to place curiously little emphasis on health when it comes to voting decisions? Professor Louise Tillin is investigating...

    National flag of India

      Research

      Global India European Training Network

      Global India is a Horizon 2020 funded, Marie Curie European Training Network providing integrated training in research and transferable skills to PhD students

      Project status: Ongoing

      London
      Political Economy & Institutions research group

      Dissecting the problems of change, particularly looking at how societies face the challenge of becoming richer and more democratic.

      dan-freeman-G4E6PcOt4Ps-unsplash
      Global South Research Group

      The Global South research group brings together scholars engaged in research on international political and economic trends, non-European perspectives, and south-south comparisons.

      Urbanisation
      Urbanisation, Rural Development and Social Transformations research group

      A research group examining urban-rural development and its effect on the developing world.

      News

      New research suggests that health is a larger concern for Indian voters than previously believed

      The first-ever survey on electoral perceptions around health in India shows that health, though not a top priority, does influence voting decisions.

      Voters lining up to cast their vote, India

      India's foreign policy geared towards securing national interest and maximising opportunities

      India’s High Commissioner to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami spoke about India’s foreign policy and trade relations, in a lecture hosted by King’s India Institute.

      India's High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami delivering a lecture to an audience at King's

      King's India Institute celebrates ten years of impact

      Now in its 10th year, the King’s India Institute has been celebrating its many achievements and the importance of deepening public understanding of...

      King's India Institute 10th anniversary graphics

      Indian Supreme Court judge addresses courts' role in protecting human rights

      On Monday 20 June, Honourable Dr Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, from India’s Supreme Court, addressed an audience of over 200 people at an event organised by...

      Chandrachud - Portrait 2 0045chandrachud 9001

      Director of King's India Institute wins Best Article Award

      Professor Louise Tillin’s article ‘Building a National Economy: Origin of Centralized Federalism in India’ has won the John Kincaid Best Article Award,...

      Louise Tillin at King's India Institute 10th anniversary reception (credit: David Tett)

      Examining the economic and social impact of COVID-19 on India

      A new website from the King's India Institute presents a real-time picture of COVID-19's impact on individual states across India.

      Two men wear face coverings while on emergency transport in India

      Lines in the Hills: Indo-Chinese Rivalry in the Himalayas

      Following a clash at the Himalayan border in mid-June – the most violent confrontation between India and China in decades – the King’s India Institute and Lau...

      A village in the Indian Himalayas

      Events

      19JunIndia elections 2024

      Elections in the World’s Largest Democracy: How Does This Reshape Global Politics

      Journalist and anchor Sonia Singh will deliver this seminar at the King's India Institute.

      06JunIndia elections 2024 reduced

      2024 and Beyond: The Implications of India’s Election Results

      Roundtable discussion with Christophe Jaffrelot, Louise Tillin, Anit Mukherjee and Sunil Mitra Kumar.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      31Jan61Lk9lH5vjL._SL1276_

      The Colonial Constitution: An Origin Story

      This talk delves into the writings of Indian leaders and debates around the Constitution.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      02FebUnsettling developments

      Unsettling developments: How different 'value(s)' of land influence outcomes of a Special Economic Zone in rural India

      A seminar by Dr Soumya Mishra

      Please note: this event has passed.

      09FebUK and India flags

      India’s Foreign Policy and Trade Relations

      King’s India Institute will host India’s High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Vikram K Doraiswami for a lecture.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      21Junsouth asia satellite2

      Change and continuity in South Asia: Unpacking identity, security and technology

      Join Kriti Kapila and Rohan Mukherjee for the keynote address, opening the 2022 King's India Institute Graduate Conference.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      06JunIndia slum

      Maids in movement: Unionising domestic workers in India

      Hear from Professor Samita Sen (University of Cambridge) on the class, gender, domestic workers and unions as part of the British Association of South Asian...

      Please note: this event has passed.

      01FebIndia on the globe

      India as a Strategic Actor in the Indo-Pacific: Perspectives from US, UK, Europe and Russia

      The panel discussion is a part of King’s India Institute's special session series, India in the Indo-Pacific.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      21OctBoats on Indian ocean

      India in the Indo-Pacific: drivers and constraints

      This event will explore the factors that are shaping India’s policy approach towards the region, as well as major constraints that affect India’s Indo-Pacific...

      Please note: this event has passed.

      01JulSpring in Kashmir Valley

      Religion in India: Discussion of Pew Research Center Survey

      King’s India Institute is hosting a discussion of a major new survey of religion across India conducted by Pew Research Center.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      Features

      The political economy of populism in India

      PROFESSOR LOUISE TILLIN explores the sources of populism in India, its recent developments, and what this means for the 2024 general elections.

      Supporters of Narendra Modi holding up banners of his image

      A democratic health check: why India shows the need for democracies to prioritise healthcare

      Dr Louise Tillin and Sandhya Venkateswaran discuss the politics and democracy of healthcare in India as part of the Build Back Better Together essay series.

      G7 Summit Flags

      DecovIndia – interdisciplinary research at King's in times of a pandemic

      A look into collaborative working on the DecovIndia Project at King's during the COVID-19 pandemic.

      DecovIndia project map

      Spotlight

      Reimagining India's health system

      Why is that India's voters appear to place curiously little emphasis on health when it comes to voting decisions? Professor Louise Tillin is investigating...

      National flag of India