Kalaiyarasan is a Post-Doctoral fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs in Brown University and an Assistant Professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, India. He was previously with National Institute of Labour Economics Research and Development, a research wing of NITI Aayog (Planning Commission), Government of India. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. His academic interest lies in social inequality and political economy of caste/racial inequality.
His first book, The Dravidian Model: Interpreting Political Economy of Tamil Nadu, which he co-authored, was recently published by the Cambridge University Press in March 2021. In this work, based primarily upon his Ph.D. thesis, he examined how caste-based social mobilization has weakened the social hierarchy in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India and made economic growth more inclusive in terms of certain socio-economic outcomes.
He is currently finalizing his second book project – Paradox of Dominant Peasant in India: Political Economy of Transition from Kisan to Other Backward Class, with Christophe Jaffrelot, he explores how the twin processes – the relative mobility of the lower castes and the economic liberalization, initiated in India since the 1990s, has changed the political economy of peasant mobilization in India.
He is currently involved in two new research projects. The first project involves mapping the history of the socio-economic marginalization of Muslims in India since its Independence. His second ongoing project involves a comparative study of the structural inequalities based on caste and race in India and the US respectively.