Commuting Worker


Agriculture Nutrition


·         Ph.D. Economics, The Pennsylvania State University, 2004

·         M.A. Economics, Delhi School of Economics, 1995

·         B.Sc. Economics (Hons), St Xavier’s College, Calcutta University, 1993


·         August 2004 onwards:  Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India

·         May 2010 – Mar 2011: Advisor to President of Confederation of Indian Industry and Co-Chairman and Managing Director of Jubilant Bhartia Group, Hari S Bhartia

·         1995-98: Banking Bureau, Business Standard, Mumbai, India



·         Visiting Scholar, Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania, USA (October-November 2014) |More|

·         Non-Resident Visiting Scholar, Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania, USA (December 2014 -November 2015) |More|

·         Fred H Bixby Fellow, Poverty Gender and Youth Program, Population Council, New York (Aug 2007- Nov 2008, May-June 2009)

·         Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development (First Prize) at the Global Development Awards and Medals Competition 2011 |More|

Professional Activities

·         Jan 2010-Dec 2011: Member, Board of Management, IGIDR

·         Consulting Editor, Journal of Health Studies, published by CEHAT and eSS |Journal|

S Chandrasekhar

Associate Professor
Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research
Gen A K Vaidya Marg, Goregaon East
Mumbai 400 065, India

Tel: +91-22-28416551

E mail: chandra at igidr dot ac dot in

My Work on Urbanization, Urban Poverty, Commuting, Migration, Rural-Urban Linkages, Education, Skill and Labour Markets 

§  Rural-Urban Disparities

§  Vijay Laxmi Pandey and S Chandrasekhar “Rural-Urban Disparities in Maharashtra”, Serial Publishers, 2009

§  Urbanization

§  S Chandrasekhar and Niharika Venkatesh “Planning for Smart Cities: Where to Start?” Yojana, September 2014

§  S Chandrasekhar “Case Study of Urban Growth Patterns and its Implications for Future Economic, Social, Demographic and Environmental Scenarios in India”, Background Paper, Preparing to Live in an Urban World, State of World Population 2007, United Nations Population Fund |Report|

§  Urban Poverty

§  S Chandrasekhar and A Mukhopadhyay “Multiple Dimensions of Urban Well-Being: Evidence from India”, Asian Population Studies, Volume 8, Issue 1, P.23-28 2012  |Working Paper||Journal Home Page|

§  S Chandrasekhar and A Mukhopadhyay “Poverty and Well-being in Indian Cities during the Reforms Era” Poverty & Public Policy, The Berkeley Electronic Press, Vol. 2: Issue. 2, Article 7, 2010 |Working Paper| |Journal Home Page|

§  S Chandrasekhar and A Mukhopadhyay “Socioeconomic Heterogeneity in Urban India”, in George Martine, Gordon McGranahan, Mark R Montgomery, and Rogelio Fernandez-Castilla edited, New Global Frontier: Urbanization, Poverty and Environment in the 21st Century, Earthscan, 2008 |Google Books|

§  S Chandrasekhar and Tesfayi Gebreselassie “Exploring Intra Urban Differences in Economic Well Being in India”, in R Radhakrishna, edited, India Development Report 2008, Oxford University Press, 2008

§  Urban Housing

§  S Chandrasekhar “Modeling Housing Rents in Urban India: A Hedonic Regression Based Approach”

§  S Chandrasekhar and Mark R. Montgomery “Broadening Poverty Definitions in India: Basic needs in Urban Housing”, Working paper, International Institute for Environment and Development, U.K. |Working Paper|

§  Mobility: Commuting, Migration

§  S Chandrasekhar and Ajay Sharma “On the Internal Mobility of Indians: Knowledge Gaps and Emerging Concerns”, in S Mahendra Dev, edited, India Development Report 2012, Oxford University Press, 2012

§  S Chandrasekhar “Workers Commuting between the Rural and Urban: Estimates from NSSO Data”, Economic and Political Weekly, pp- 22-25, Nov 2011. |Working Paper||Journal Home Page|

§  Ajay Sharma  and S Chandrasekhar “Growth of the Urban Shadow, Spatial Distribution of Economic Activities and Commuting by Workers in Rural and Urban India”, World Development, Volume 61,   September 2014 P. 154-166 |Working Paper|

§  Ajay Sharma  and S Chandrasekhar “Impact of Commuting by Workers on Household Consumption and Dietary Diversity in Rural India” |Working Paper|

§  S Chandrasekhar and Ajay Sharma “Internal Migration for Education and Employment among Youth in India” Chapter 6 in State of the Urban Youth, India 2012: Employment, Livelihoods, Skills. Report Commissioned by UN-HABITAT’s Global Urban Youth Research Network and Published by IRIS-KF |Working Paper| |Report|

§  S Chandrasekhar and Ajay Sharma “Urbanization and Spatial Patterns of Internal Migration in India” |Working Paper|

§  Tushar Agrawal and S Chandrasekhar “Short Term Migrants in India: Characteristics, Wages and Work Transition” |Working Paper|

§  Tushar Agrawal and S Chandrasekhar “Labour Market Outcomes of the Itinerant Worker in Rural India”, Journal of International Development, 2015, Available Online, DOI: 10.1002/jid.3126

§  S Chandrasekhar, Mousumi Das and Ajay Sharma “Short Term Migration and Consumption Expenditure in Rural India”, Oxford Development Studies ,  43:1, pp 105-122, 2015  |Working Paper|

§  Education

§  S Chandrasekhar and Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay “Primary Education as a Fundamental Right: Cost Implications”, Economic and Political Weekly, Sept 2006, 3797-3804,

§  Sajeda Amin and S. Chandrasekhar: “Looking beyond Universal Primary Education: Gender differences in time use among children in rural Bangladesh”, Asian Population Studies, 8:1, P. 23-38, 2012

§  S Chandrasekhar and M. H. Suryanarayana “Education for All’ in India: Issues, Policies and Imperatives”, Chapter 7 in "Indian Economy in Transition: Emerging Issues and Challenges - Essays in Honor of C.T. Kurien", edited by S. Janakarajan, L. Venkatachalam, and R. Maria Saleth, Sage Publications India Limited

§  Labour Markets 

§  S Chandrasekhar “Urbanization in a Decade of near Jobless Growth”, Chapter 5, “Subaltern Urbanization in India. An Introduction to Ordinary Towns’ Dynamics”, Edited by: Eric Denis and Marie – Hιlθne Zιrah, Springer (forthcoming) |Suburbin Project


§  S Chandrasekhar and Ajay Sharma “On the Spatial Concentration of Employment in India”, Economic and Political Weekly , May 24, 2014 vol XLIX no 21 P. 16-18   |Working Paper| |Journal Home Page|

§  S Chandrasekhar, S Mahendra Dev, Vijay Laxmi Pandey “Pathways from Agriculture to Nutrition: Implications of the Occupation Structure in Rural India”

§  S Chandrasekhar “Home Based Workers and Multiple Uses of Dwellings in Urban India”

§  Financial Inclusion

§  S Chandrasekhar “Reading the Tea Leaves on Financial Inclusion: The Case of Rural Labour Households”, Economic and Political Weekly, pp- 43-51, Jan 2014  |Working Paper| |Journal Home Page|


Ongoing Research


The Commuting Worker 

About: The project “The Commuting Worker: An Overlooked Aspect of Rural-Urban Interaction: Evidence from India” won the Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development (First Prize) at the Global Development Awards And Medals Competition 2011.


Objective: With Indian cities unwelcoming of migrants and lack of employment growth in rural India, an alternative, albeit effective livelihood strategy is commuting daily from rural to urban areas for work. Nearly 12.5 million workers cross the rural-urban boundary everyday while 12.2 million workers report not having a fixed place of work. Such movement of workers is fast developing as an important and new channel of interaction between the rural and urban economy. The goal of this study is to improve our understanding of the commuting worker and highlight the importance of rural-urban commuting as an important feature of the interaction between rural and urban sectors of the Indian economy. Unlike migration, the increase in the number of commuting workers across rural-urban boundaries is relatively under researched. It is expected that this study can help nudge the policy debates away from a primarily migration centric discussion. |More|


Strengthen and Harmonize Research and Action on Migration in the Indian Context

About: Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research has received the support of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust & Allied Trusts towards implementation of the initiative titled “Strengthen and Harmonize Research and Action on Migration in the Indian Context - SHRAMIC”.  Centre for Policy Research, National Institute of Urban Affairs, IRIS Knowledge Foundation and a few independent researchers are collaborating with IGIDR on this initiative.


Objective: The initiative seeks to improve our understanding of livelihood strategies of migrants, migrant workers and their families, suggest evidence based policy prescriptions for protection of the rights of migrants and create a conducive environment for migrants and recognize the contribution of migrants while formulating poverty reduction and employment strategies. Over the period June 1 2012 – May 2016, SHRAMIC seeks to address the following four questions:


1.             What are the various types of migration flows captured by nationally representative data and localized studies in order to trace the source of apparent disconnect in the estimates of migration rates and number of migrants based on nationally representative data (lower) and localized studies (higher)?

2.             What are the legal and structural impediments to migration?

3.             Given that India is becoming increasingly urban, what is the nature of urban livelihoods and what determines the ability of migrants to access livelihoods?

4.             How effective is migration as a livelihood strategy?

As part of this initiative we have conceptualized SHRAM as a Research Portal and Data Repository. It will serve as an online knowledge community on migration in South Asia with a specific focus on India.


Research Papers


System of Promoting Appropriate National Dynamism for Agriculture and Nutrition

About: The initiative which is supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to build on the output of the IFPRI led initiative Tackling Agriculture Nutrition Disconnect in India . Institute of Human Development, National Institute of Nutrition, IRIS Knowledge Foundation and a few independent researchers are collaborating with faculty from Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research on this initiative.


Objective: The initiative aims to contribute to the reduction of hunger and malnutrition among India's poor by increasing the evidence base for understanding the strength and dynamics of the multiple pathways between agriculture and nutrition and to provide tools to decision makers to strengthen the pathways from agriculture to nutrition. The three objectives of are


1.             Build the Evidence Base to better Understand and Strengthen Agriculture-Nutrition Pathways in India

2.             Evaluate Impact of Specific Agricultural Interventions and Policies on Nutrition Outcomes

3.             Advocacy: Bring Evidence on Strengthening Agriculture-Nutrition Linkages to Existing and New Stakeholder Policy Platforms






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