Areas of Interest:

  • Entrepreneurship, innovation and economic development policy
  • Political economy and allocation of entrepreneurship in areas of political instability, conflict, and disaster
  • Postconflict reconstruction
  • Social entrepreneurship

She specializes in entrepreneurship, competitiveness, and economic development policy. In her research, she explores the conditions that influence entrepreneurship and the regional economic and resilience outcomes of various types of entrepreneurial activity. Desai’s work focuses on access to entrepreneurial opportunity and inclusive economic development pathways.


  • Governance & Public Law
  • Policy Analysis
  • Public Management
  • Public Finance & Economics

Research + Teaching Interests: economic development; globalization and entrepreneurship; private sector development in conflict / post-conflict recovery and political instability

Regional Expertise: Rwanda

Past Affiliations

Associate Professor, African Studies Program, Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, Indiana University Bloomington

Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, Henry W. Bloch School of Management, University of Missouri-Kansas City (past)

Assistant Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University Bloomington

Environmental Policy, African Studies, Public Administration
PhD, George Mason University, Public Policy, 2008
MS, George Mason University, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, 2003
BA, Northwestern University, Sociology, 2001