Aashish Mehta

Associate Professor

Office Hours

Wednesday 1-3:30 (for students in Global 224); else by appointment

Office Location

2111 SSMS


Economic Development, Globalization & Structural Transformation, Inequality, Employment, Human Capital, Institutions


Ph.D., Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004
Master's Certificate, Energy Analysis and Policy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2003
M.Sc., Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2000
B.A., Economics, Oberlin College, 1997


Academic Vita

Associate Professor, Global & International Studies
Research Associate, Broom Center for Demography


I study changes in economic structure and employment patterns around the world. I am particularly interested in how people's ability to move up in the world by acquiring human capital depends upon what their economy produces, the jobs and earnings opportunities this generates, and their position in social hierarchies. Studies in this area cover a wide range of topics, including structural transformation, (de)industrialization, the globalization (and deglobalization) of labor markets, wage inequality,export diversification, educational expansion, "overeducation", stratification, changes in gender roles, and employment/industrial policy. I study these issues empirically, in order to generate insights that development practitioners, journalists and policy makers might find useful.

I also study the functioning of public institutions.  Past and current projects along these lines cover a diversity of topics, including public services corruption, energy sector restructuring, food subsidy programs, discrimination by caste and skin-color, payment for ecosystem services, and international human rights policy.

I favor a mixed methods approach. I use nationally- and globally-representative datasets to study structural issues. I also employ case studies, economic and development theory, and field interviews to help establish causal explanations for these structural findings, and to take on questions that a purely quantitative approach cannot answer.  I collaborate with other economists, political scientists, sociologists, information scientists, industrial policy researchers, and humanists, in order to build these skills and gain exposure to relevant theories and questions,

Before joining UCSB, I served as an economist at the Asian Development Bank, where I analyzed electricity sector reforms in several Central Asian countries and the Philippines and covered global and Asian macroeconomic developments.


For a complete list of publications, please see my CV, or my Google Scholar page.

Journal Articles

Titles are linked to final journal articles. I also link to free pre-publication working paper versions of all articles that are behind paywalls. Articles are divided roughly by my two broad areas of interest:

Structural change, Economic Development, Employment and Human Capital:

Functioning of Public Institutions:

Working Papers

Select Book Chapters and Reports

Invited Online Articles

In the works..

  • Is work deglobalizing?  (with Liming Chen, Jesus Felipe and Andrew Kam). 
  • Does the US Nanotechnology sector suffer a skills gap? (with Stacey Frederick and Rachel Parker)
  • What does economic growth do to public services corruption? (with Amit Ahuja).
  • Making sense of India's manufacturing "skill gaps" (with Deboshree Ghosh)
  • Trade Liberalization and Inequality as if Businessmen Existed (with Asha Sundaram and Andrew Dawson)
  • Two concepts of value: The uses of higher education in the humanities and economics (with Chris Newfield and Heather Steffen)


Global 2: Introduction to Global Socioeconomic Processes [syllabus – Spring 2010]
Global 130: Global Economy and Development [syllabus –Spring 2017]
Global 197: Global Imbalances  [syllabus - Spring 2017]
Global 224: Global Studies Research Methods [syllabus - Fall 2017]
Global 234: Globalization and Markets (a.k.a. Microeconomics for Global Studies) [syllabus – Winter 2013]
Global 236: Macroeconomics for Global Studies [syllabus – Spring 2016]