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Professor Louise Tillin is Director, King’s India Institute and Professor of Politics. She joined King’s – and the then newly established King’s India Institute – in 2011. 

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).

Since 2011, Louise has 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) to conduct research and write a monograph on Welfare and Capitalism in India: A Political History. She is the King’s PI on the Horizon 2020 European Training Network Global India led by Dublin City University.

Louise is a regular commentator on Indian politics in UK, Indian and international media. She is an editor of the journal Regional and Federal Studies, and an editorial board member of Pacific Affairs.


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

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. Before joining King’s, Louise was Joyce Lambert Research Fellow in Politics at Newnham College, Cambridge. Prior to academia, she worked for BBC News in several roles including as a South Asia analyst.



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

Further details

See Louise's research profile