Sumitra Badrinathan

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I am an assistant professor of political science at American University's School of International Service. In 2021-22 I was a postdoc fellow at the University of Oxford's Reuters Institute. 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 violence, 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

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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. 2022. Navigating Insider and Outsider Status as Researchers Conducting Field Experiments. PS: Political Science & Politics: 1--5


Badrinathan, Sumitra and Simon Chauchard. 2023. "I Don't Think That's True, Bro!" Social Corrections of Misinformation in India. International Journal of Press/Politics.


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.


Mont'Alverne, Camila, Sumitra Badrinathan, Amy Ross Arguedas, Benjamin Toff, Richard Fletcher, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. 2023. Domain-Specific Influence on Facebook: How Topic Matters when Assessing Influential Accounts in Four Countries. Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media: 3


Ross Arguedas, Amy A., Sumitra Badrinathan, Camila Mont’Alverne, Benjamin Toff, Richard Fletcher, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. 2022. ”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. Journalism Studies: 1--20.


Mont'Alverne, Camila, Sumitra Badrinathan, Amy Ross Arguedas, Benjamin Toff, Richard Fletcher, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. 2023. Fair and Balanced: What News Audiences in Four Countries Mean When They Say They Prefer Impartial News. Journalism Studies: 1--18.


Ross Arguedas, Amy A., Sumitra Badrinathan, Camila Mont’Alverne, Benjamin Toff, Richard Fletcher, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. 2022. Shortcuts to Trust: Relying on Cues to Judge Online News from Unfamiliar Sources on Digital Platforms. Journalism: 1--23.


Sumitra Badrinathan and Simon Chauchard. 2023. Researching and countering misinformation in the Global South. Current Opinion in Psychology.




Misinformation and Support for Vigilantism: An Experiment in India and Pakistan
with Niloufer Siddiqui and Simon Chauchard
(R&R, American Political Science Review)


The Effect of Types of News on Trust: A Longitudinal Analysis of 46 Countries,,
with Richard Fletcher, Simge Andi, Camila Mont’Alverne, Benjamin Toff, Rasmus K. Nielsen et al.
(R&R, Journal of Communication)


The Religious Roots of Belief in Misinformation: Experimental Evidence from India, with Simon Chauchard
Working Paper


The Effect of Labeling False Social Media posts in Brazil, India, and the UK,
with Richard Fletcher Simge Andi, Benjamin Toff, Camila Mont'Alverne, Rasmus K. Nielsen
Pre-analysis plan


Examining Urban/Rural Gaps in Trust in News Across Four Countries
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




Countering Misinformation Early: A Grassroots Media Literacy Intervention for Rural Populations in India
with Priyadarshi Amar, Simon Chauchard, Florian Sichart
pre-analysis plan


The effect of credibility labels on trust in news
with Richard Fletcher, Camila Mont'Alverne, Amy Ross Arguedas, Benjamin Toff, Rasmus K. Nielsen
pre-analysis plan


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, Benjamin Toff, Rasmus K. Nielsen
pre-analysis plan


Deconstructing Meta-Narratives of Misinformation to Reduce Support for Violence: A WhatsApp-based Experiment,
with Niloufer Siddiqui and Simon Chauchard


The Political Economy of Local Journalism and Misinformation,
with Adam Auerbach


Does Partisanship Affect Media Choice? Experimental Evidence from North India


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




Spring 24: Experimental Design (Undergraduate Seminar)

Spring 23: Comparative Political Economy (Graduate Seminar)

Fall 23: Political Misinformation and Fake News (Graduate Seminar)






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)