Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Rahul Mediratta

Rahul Mediratta

Postdoctoral Fellow in International and Public Affairs


Rahul Mediratta is a postdoctoral fellow at the Watson Institute. He holds a PhD and an MA in Political Science, both from Northwestern University, an MSc in Comparative Social Policy from Oxford University as a Commonwealth Scholar, and a BHS in Health Policy from York University in Canada. Mediratta’s research has received funding support from the Kellogg School of Management, Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, and the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies.

His research agenda examines grey markets – referring to smuggling in commercial items – and its effects in areas such as security and development.  Grey markets are couched between white markets, where trade in licit commercial items adheres to state tariffs and monitoring and is thus legally sanctioned, and black markets, where traders deal in illicit items and is thus criminalized.  


Mediratta’s dissertation, “Globalization in the Shadows: Smuggling and the Foreign Policy Calculus of Enduring Interstate Rivalry,” explores how smuggling in commercial items can force countries with hostile relations to cooperate. Mediratta examines smuggling in the India-Pakistan and China-Taiwan rivalries, and builds an original database on trade barriers and militarized disputes across the 86 cases of enduring rivalry dated from 1816 to 2001. His research involved interviews with smugglers, industry officials, state officials, and influential economistic networks in India, Pakistan, Dubai, and Taiwan.  His extensive field visits included economic zones, trade expos, and region-wide economistic events.  He also examined over 2,500 individual archival pages at the US National Archives, the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, and the Hoover Institution


(forthcoming) India and Transnational Organized Crime, in (Ed.) S. Ganguly, M. Pardesi, and N. Blarel, Oxford Handbook of India’s National Security. New York: Oxford University Press.

(forthcoming) Media Underreporting as a Barrier to India-Pakistan Trade Normalization: Quantitative analysis of newsprint dailies, in (Ed.) N. Taneja, India-Pakistan Trade Normalization: The unfinished economic agenda. New Delhi: Springer.  

(2014). Partners in Crime: How smugglers unite India and Pakistan. Foreign Affairs.

Working Papers

Globalization in the Shadows: How smugglers can force hostile countries to cooperate

Grey Matters: A research agenda on commercial smuggling and world politics

Dark Money and Multifinality: Analyzing diversity of outcomes in the Swiss Leaks Project


Fall 2016 Contraband Capitalism (Upper-Level Undergraduate course)