Indiana University



Associate Director, Institute for Development Strategies

Ph.D., George Mason University, 2008
M.S., George Mason University, 2003
B.A., Northwestern University, 2001

1315 East 10th Street, SPEA Room 201
Bloomington, IN 47405

+1 (812) 855-6766 phone
+1 (812) 855-0184 fax


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Recent Publications


Sameeksha Desai is one of the first researchers to explore the dynamics of entrepreneurship from the perspective of destructive entrepreneurship, a theory seeking to understand the political economy of postconflict reconstruction. Her research interests are in the relationship between entrepreneurs and public (in)effectiveness, for example examining institutions that favor productive versus destructive activities.

From 2008 to 2009, Samee studied entrepreneurship in Iraq with a grant from the U.S. Army. Her findings from extensive surveys during these field visits identified local-level policies to support entrepreneurship and have been presented at the Council on Foreign Relations. They are also used by the United Nations World Institute for Development Economics Research.

Samee is a visiting scholar at the Kauffman Foundation, where she is involved in research on postconflict economic development. She has also served a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Economics in Jena, Germany. She has been awarded numerous awards, fellowships and grants for her ambitious work in the public policy and entrepreneurship fields.


Professional Experience
  • Principal Invesigator, "Entrepreneurship and Economic Development After Conflict," Kauffman Foundation, 2010
  • Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Missouri, 2008 - 2010
  • Principal Investigator, "Entrepreneurship in Southern Iraq," U.S. Army, 2008-2009
  • Guest Co-Editor, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, experiments and entrepreneurship issue, 2009
  • Co-Principal Investigator, "Allocation of Entrepreneurship across Countries," Utrecht University, 2007-2008
  • Project Manager and Researcher, Entrepreneurship literature database project, Kauffman Foundation, 2007
  • Manager, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Conference, Washington, D.C., 2007
Awards, Honors & Certifications
  • University of Missouri New Horizons award, 2009
  • Best paper award (with Johan Eklund) for "Ownership, Economic Entrenchment and Allocation of Capital," Uddevalla Symposium
  • Fellowship in Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, Kauffman Foundation and Max Planck Institute
  • Ph.D Fellowship, Center for Entrepreneurship and Public Policy
  • Ph. D Fellowship, George Mason University
Professional Interests
Political economy of entrepreneurship, postconflict reconstruction, entrepreneurs & public (in)effectiveness, public policy and its effect on economic development
Current Projects
  • Postconflict economic development, Kauffman Foundation



"Nonmarket Source of American Entrepreneurship Capitalism: Entrepreneurial-Philanthropy Nexus," with Acs, Z. J., Phillips, R. and Audrestch, D.B. in Shockley, G. et al (Eds) Nonmarket Entreneurship: Interdisciplinary Approaches.

"What Does Entrepreneurship Data Really Show?" with Acs, Z.J. and Klapper, L. (2008) Small Business Economics, 31(3).

"Transnational Ethnic Groups and Conflict: The Zaghawa in Chad and Sudan," Conflict Trends, 2008/2.


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