Sumitra Badrinathan

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I am an assistant professor of political science at American University's School of International Service and postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Oxford's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. I received a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2021.

My research focuses on political communication in South Asia, with an emphasis on new platforms like WhatsApp and their effects on political misinformation, media trust, and the quality of democracy. I use experimental and survey methods to investigate potential solutions to misinformation in developing countries along with the consequences of misinformation on political and societal outcomes, including vote choice, polarization, and social cohesion.

My work has appeared in academic journals such as the American Political Science Review as well as popular press such as The Washington Post.

I hold an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in Psychology from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.

You can access my CV here.



American University
School of International Service
Washington DC 20016

sumitrab[at]american[dot]edu

Email Twitter GitHub




Badrinathan, Sumitra. 2021. Educative Interventions to Combat Misinformation: Evidence From A Field Experiment in India. American Political Science Review 115(4): 1325--1341


Kim, Eunji, Sumitra Badrinathan, Donghyun Danny Choi, Sabrina Karim, and Yang-Yang Zhou. 2021. Navigating Insider and Outsider Status as Researchers Conducting Field Experiments. PS: Political Science & Politics, Forthcoming


Badrinathan, Sumitra, Devesh Kapur, Deepaboli Chatterjee, and Neelanjan Sircar. 2021. Partisan Disagreement: The Role of Media, Personal Networks and Gender in Forming Political Preferences. Urbanisation 6(1): 141--157.




"I Don't Think That's True, Bro!" Social Corrections of Misinformation in India, with Simon Chauchard (revise and resubmit)
Working Paper


Leveraging Religiosity Against COVID-19 Misinformation: Experimental Evidence from India, with Simon Chauchard
Working Paper


Fair and Balanced: What News Audiences in Four Countries Mean When They Say They Prefer Impartial News
with Camila Mont'Alverne, Amy Ross Arguedas, Benjamin Toff, Richard Fletcher, Rasmus K. Nielsen


Subjective Preferences for Objective News: Exploring the Complex Relationship Between Impartiality and Trust in News
with Camila Mont'Alverne, Amy Ross Arguedas, Benjamin Toff, Richard Fletcher, Rasmus K. Nielsen


"It's a Battle You Are Never Going to Win": Perspectives from Journalists in Four Countries on How Digital Media Platforms Undermine Trust in News
with Amy Ross Arguedas, Camila Mont'Alverne, Benjamin Toff, Richard Fletcher, Rasmus K. Nielsen




Does Misinformation Drive Support for Vigilantism? Coordinated Experiments in India and Pakistan
with Niloufer Siddiqui and Simon Chauchard
Funded by the 2021 Facebook Integrity Research Awards


Does Partisanship Affect Media Choice? Experimental Evidence from North India


The effect of labelling false COVID-19 posts on social media in Brazil, India, UK
with Richard Fletcher, Simge Andi, Benjamin Toff, Rasmus K. Nielsen
Pre-analysis Plan


Who Believes Misinformation? A Profile of Vulnerability to False News in India
with Simon Chauchard


The effect of corrections featuring fact-checks from news organisations on false COVID-19 social media posts in Brazil, India and the UK
with Richard Fletcher, Simge Andi, Camila Mont'Alverne, Benjamin Toff, Rasmus K. Nielsen
Pre-analysis Plan


Does Trust in the News Affect Support for Democratic Values?
with Camila Mont'Alverne, Amy Ross Arguedas, Benjamin Toff


The Puzzle of Indian-American Voting Behavior,
with Milan Vaishnav and Devesh Kapur




Badrinathan, Sumitra, and Devesh Kapur. 2021. Religion, Caste, Class, Politics: How Urbanization Affects Social Interactions and Political Behaviors. Chapter.
In Colossus: The Anatomy of Delhi, edited by Sanjoy Chakravorty and Neelanjan Sircar. Cambridge University Press




Political Change in the Third World (PSCI 116)
Teaching Assistant. Instructor: Professor Rudy Sil

Statistics for Political Science (PSCI 338)
Teaching Assistant. Instructor: Professor Marc Meredith
Lab R code is available in this repository.

International Human Rights (PSCI 258)
Teaching Assistant. Instructor: Professor Eileen Doherty-Sil

Introduction to American Politics (PSCI 130)
Teaching Assistant. Instructor: Professor Marc Meredith


Teaching Awards
Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students, University of Pennsylvania (2019)

Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Students, University of Pennsylvania (2019)