roshan kumar pandian


I examine how the forces of globalization and political economy shape inequality (both between and within countries) and individual attitudes/behavior. My research agenda is oriented toward three classic sociological questions: (1) how has the global reorganization of production near the turn of the last century affected developmental prospects for countries in the Global South, (2) how does globalization and political economy shape income inequality, poverty, and well-being within countries, both rich and developing, and (3) how do development and globalization shape individual social attitudes and behavior, such as gender attitudes and family behavior. Below, I list published papers and works in progress that belong to each line of research, after providing an overview of my dissertation research.


Scholars of globalization and development have documented the rise of a “new international division of labor” over the past few decades. The increased geographic relocation of certain production activities from rich economies to developing nations was expected to bolster an industrialization-led path to economic development in poorer countries. However, the transformation of the global manufacturing sector, while significant, has been uneven in its impact on developing economies. Researchers have recently started to document a process of “premature deindustrialization in many developing nations that have started losing employment in the manufacturing sector to the tertiary sector at lower levels of development compared to the experiences of today’s rich countries. In this dissertation, I contribute to the literature on the developmental and distributional consequences of the globalization of production for developing nations.

First, I examine the factors that have shaped trends in manufacturing employment over the past two decades, paying particular attention to the impact of global competition. I develop novel measures of export performance by leveraging temporal, country-level, and industry-level variation in shares of world exports and test the impact of global competitive pressures on manufacturing employment. The second study builds on past social science literature on the globalization-inequality link and examines how globalization moderates the effect of manufacturing sector size (in employment terms) on income inequality in developing nations. I demonstrate that while manufacturing share of employment is negatively associated with income inequality in developing nations, this equalizing effect has declined as the manufacturing sectors of countries have become more globally integrated. In the third study, I turn my attention to the recent decline in global inequality in the post 2000s period and ask the following questions: (1) which countries’ performances were most consequential for the decline in population weighted between-country income inequality? (2) What factors drove the rapid growth of these countries and how important (or not) was the industrial sector? This study builds on existing research that documents a recent decline in global inequality but is more silent on the answers to the questions posed above.

This dissertation contributes to literatures in development sociology and economics about how the rise of the new international division of labor in the recent round of globalization has both expanded and constrained the prospects for an industrialization-led path to economic development.

globalization of production & development

"Does Manufacturing Matter for Economic Growth in the Era of Globalization?" 2017. Social Forces
"What is Really Happening with Global Inequality?" 2018. Sociology of Development (with Arthur S. Alderson)
"Global Competition and Manufacturing Employment in Developing Nations."
In Progress, Dissertation paper 1
"Explaining the Recent Decline in Global Inequality"
In Progress, Dissertation paper 3

political economy of income distribution & well-being

"Globalization of Production, Manufacturing Employment, and Income Inequality in the Global South."
In progress, Dissertation paper 2
"How Does Globalization Matter for Child Mortality in Developing Nations?"
In progress
"Globalization of Production and Union Decline in Rich Democracies"
In progress, with Matthew Mahutga and Manjing Gao

development, globalization, & individual attitudes/behavior

"World Society Integration and Gender Attitudes in Cross-National Context." 2019.
Social Forces
"The Decline of Arranged Marriage? Marital Change and Continuity in India." 2016.
Population & Development Review
(with Keera Allendorf)