Lead Economist, Development Research Group
World Bank

Vijayendra (Biju) Rao, a Lead Economist in the Research Department of the World Bank, integrates his training in economics with theories and methods from anthropology, sociology and political science to study the social, cultural, and political context of extreme poverty in developing countries.

He leads the Social Observatory, an inter-disciplinary effort to improve the implementation of anti-poverty projects by building their "adaptive capacity"; i.e. the ability of projects to make everyday decisions, and modify project design, on the basis of high-quality descriptive, evaluative and process-oriented information.

His research has spanned a wide variety of subjects including the rise in dowries in India, the determinants and consequences of domestic violence, the economics of sex work, public celebrations, culture and development policy, participatory development, and deliberative democracy.