Raj M. Desai

Raj M. Desai
Associate Professor
809 ICC

Associate Professor 

Raj M. Desai is Associate Professor of International Development at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and in the Department of Government at Georgetown University, and a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a specialist on problems of economic reform, foreign aid, and international development.

In addition to being a co-author of A Better Investment Climate for Everyone (World Development Report 2005), he is co-editor of Can Russian Compete? and of Between State and Market: Mass Privatization in Transition Economies (1997). He has also authored articles on economic reform, entrepreneurship, and poverty alleviation in The American Political Science Review, Economics and Politics, Journal of Comparative Economics, IMF Staff Papers, Economics of Transition, The World Bank Research Observer, International Studies Review, The European Journal of Political Economy, Journal of International Law and Politics, The National Interest, and Survival.

He is the recipient of fellowships from the Social Sciences Research Council, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and from the National Science Foundation. He has also served as occasional consultant to the World Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and other international organizations. From 1996 to 1999, he was as a private sector development specialist at the World Bank, where he worked on the privatization and restructuring of public enterprises in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and on the recovery of financial systems following economic crises in East Asia and Latin America. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from Harvard University where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow, and his B.A. from the University of California, Irvine.

  • PhD (1996) Harvard University, Political Science
  • MA (1992) Harvard University, Political Science
  • BA (1988) University of California, Irvine, Political Science



World Bank. World Development Report 2005: A Better Investment Climate for Everyone. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Articles in Journals

Raj M. Desai, Homi Kharas.The California Consensus: Can Private Aid End Global Poverty.” Survival 50.4 (2008): 155-168.

Raj M. Desai, Itzhak Goldberg.Perestroika Cubana.” The National Interest 91 (2007): 6-11.

Cevdet Denizer, Raj M. Desai, Nikolay Gueorguiev.Political Competition and Financial Reform in Transition Economies.” Comparative Economic Studies 48.4 (2006): 563-582.

Raj M. Desai, Anders Olofsgård.Political Constraints and Public Support for Market Reform.” IMF Staff Papers 53 (2006): 91-114.

Raj M. Desai, Anders Olofsgård.Constitutionalism and Credibility in Reforming Economies.” Economics of Transition 14.3 (2006): 479-504.

Raj M. Desai, Anders Olofsgård.The Political Advantage of Soft Budget Constraints.” European Journal of Political Economy 22.2 (2006): 370-387.

Raj M. Desai, Lev Freinkman, Itzhak Goldberg.Fiscal Federalism in Rentier Regions: Evidence from Russia.” Journal of Comparative Economics 33.4 (2005): 814-834.

Raj M. Desai, Anders Olofsgård, Tarik Yousef.Inflation and Inequality: Does Political Structure Matter?.” Economic Letters 87.1 (2005): 41-46.

Raj M. Desai, Sanjay Pradhan.Governing the Investment Climate.” Development Outreach 7.2 (2005): 13-15.

Raj M. Desai, Anders Olofsgård, Tarik Yousef.Democracy, Inequality, and Inflation.” American Political Science Review 97.3 (2003): 391-406.

Raj M. Desai, Itzhak Goldberg.The Politics of Russian Enterprise Reform: Insiders, Local Governments, and the Obstacles to Restructuring.” World Bank Research Observer 16.2 (2001): 219-240.

Raj M. Desai, Itzhak Goldberg.Property Rights, Stakeholders, and the Russian Enterprise Dilemma.” Finance and Development 37.2 (2000): 14-18.

Cevdet Denizer, Raj M. Desai, Nikolay Gueorguiev.Financní liberalizace a financní represe v bývalých socialistických ekonomikách,’ [Financial liberalization and financial repression in formerly socialist economies].” Finance a Úver 50.1 (2000): 17-39.

Raj M. Desai, Mitchell Orenstein.State Power and Interest Formation in the Post-Communist Transition.” Problems of Post-Communism 44.6 (1997): 53-62.

Raj M. Desai.Reformed Banks and Corporate Governance in the Czech Republic, 1991-1996.” Post-Communist Geography and Economics 37.8 (1996): 463-494.

Raj M. Desai, Mitchell Orenstein.The Business Lobby in the Czech Republic and Poland.” Journal of Transforming Economies and Societies 3.2 (1996): 29-43.

Raj M. Desai, Harry Eckstein.Insurgency: The Transformation of Peasant Rebellion.” World Politics 42.4 (1990): 441-465.

Articles in Books

Raj M. Desai, Itzhak Goldberg.Corporate Governance in Russia.” Russian Enterprise Reform. Ed. Harry Broadman. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1998.

Raj M. Desai, Katharina Pistor.Financial Institutions and Corporate Governance.” Between State and Market: Mass Privatization in Transition Economies. Ed. Raj M. Desai, Ira W. Lieberman, Stilpon Nestor. Washington, D.C./Paris: World Bank/OECD, 1997.

Raj M. Desai, Vladena Plocková.Czech Republic.” Between State and Market: Mass Privatization in Transition Economies. Ed. Raj M. Desai, Ira W. Lieberman, Stilpon Nestor. Washington, D.C./Paris: World Bank/OECD, 1997.

Raj M. Desai, Mitchell Orenstein.Business Associations and the State in the Czech Republic and Poland.” Organized Business Interests as Outcomes and Agents of Socio-Economic Transformation in East and East Central Europe . Ed. Helmut Wiesenthal. Berlin: Max Plank Institute, 1996.


Raj M. Desai.Lessons for Raul: Guiding Cuba Through Troubled Times.” Washington Times 28 Mar. 2008: .

Raj M. Desai.Revitalizing America’s Foreign Aid Regime.” The Globalist 29 May. 2007: .

Edited Books

Raj M. Desai, Itzhak Goldberg, ed. Can Russia Compete?. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2008.

Raj M. Desai, Ira Lieberman, Stilpon Nestor, ed. Between State and Market: Mass Privatization in Transition Economies. Washington, D.C./Paris: World Bank/OECD, 1997.

Book Reviews

Raj M. Desai.Embedded Politics: Industrial Networks and Institutional Change in Postcommunism.” Economic Systems 27.4 (2004): 415-418.

Raj M. Desai.Out of the Red.” Finance and Development 39.1 (2002): 54.

Raj M. Desai.Privatization and Entrepreneurship.” Finance and Development 35.4 (1998).

Conference Proceedings

Raj M. Desai, ed.Promoting Investment and Entrepreneurship in the Romanian Economy.” 2001. Bucharest, Romania: United Nations Development Programme.


Moldova: Investment Climate Assessment (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2004).