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Saad Gulzar

Saad Gulzar

Faculty Affiliate
Stanford King Center on Global Development
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
PhD, Political Science, New York University, 2017
MPA, Columbia University, 2010
MPP, National University of Singapore, 2009
B.Sc. (Honors) in Economics, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan, 2008


Saad Gulzar is an assistant professor of political science at Stanford University. His research asks under what conditions can representative government – one that provides equality of voice and influence – improve people’s lives? Focusing on South Asia, he poses two broad sets of questions:

  • In developing countries, does representative government improve redistribution at the cost of policy efficiency? His work shows that broadening political representation can improve policies both on the efficiency and redistribution margins. He argues that taking electoral incentives seriously holds the key to making politics work for development.
  • How can societies transition towards more representative government? He examines long-term historical processes of transitions and their policy consequences. He also studies how barriers that prevent broad political participation can be overcome both at the individual and organizational level. His work shows politics can be made more inclusive and that doing so can improve policy outcomes.
He works closely with politicians, political parties, bureaucrats, and government agencies in Pakistan, India, and Nepal, and strive to make these collaborations meaningful for research and policy. His work has been published in the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, and the Journal of the European Economic Association. 
He received his PhD in political science at New York University in 2017, where his work received the Best Dissertation Award from American Political Science Association’s Experiments Section.