Tanvi Nagpal

Tanvi Nagpal

Director and Associate Practitioner in Residence
International Development

Bernstein-Offit Building (BOB) 732

Background and Education

Tanvi Nagpal has over two decades of experience in international development policy research and program management in East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. She has applied her academic training in political economy to a wide range of development issues including sustainable and equitable water, sanitation and solid waste service delivery; supporting communities and local governments to manage environmental resources; and generating support for pro-poor urban policies and programs.  Dr. Nagpal is a dynamic and effective leader, building coalitions and consensus among a range of actors including non-governmental organizations, bilateral and multilateral funders, foundations and civic groups. Her work experience ranges from positions at the World Bank to think tanks and non-government organizations. She has also served as a consultant to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. In addition to leading policy research and programs, her professional responsibilities have included fund raising and managing budgets. Professor Nagpal has authored numerous papers and reports for scholarly and non-scholarly publications. She anchors the Social Programs and Policy track and leads the Practicum capstone for MA students in the International Development Program. Professor Nagpal teaches classes on delivering services in developing countries, and new trends in poverty and inequality in the developing world. Professor Nagpal is an affiliated scholar at the Urban Institute where her research focuses on city-level financing for pro-poor sanitation improvements. 

2015-03-20 00:00:00 
Spring 2018 
As centers of p...
As centers of power, innovation, growth and dynamism, cities have long created identities for entire countries and even regions. In the last century, they have also attracted millions of people from rural hinterlands who have come in search of jobs, better services, and a chance at making good on a dream. But from Baltimore and Cape Town to Paris and Rio, the consequence of urban poverty, inequality, exclusion and vulnerability have come into sharp focus this year.  In this class we examine how urbanization is unfolding in middle and low-income countries in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, looking specifically at the causes and consequences of vulnerability including patterns of migration, informality and access to services. We examine the incentives and capacity of local governments to provide services to the poor by studying municipal budgets and financing. And finally, we look at case studies of innovative solutions offered by entrepreneurial individuals and civic groups to the challenges that they see in their own communities. In the final classes we examine, in depth, issues of informality and unemployment in urban areas of sub-Saharan Africa; migration and industrialization in East and South Asia; and Inequality and Violence in the Americas.  Readings in this class come from numerous disciplines – economics, political science, anthropology, sociology, engineering and architecture! We read from newspapers, magazines, journals and books and students are encouraged to share articles or news that they find interesting. Guest speakers will be invited to speak to the class about their research or work experience. In general, the professor will use a combination of lectures and discussion for each session. 
Fall 2017 
Basic services ...
Basic services such as drinking water, sanitation, solid waste management and public transport are essential to development, yet in many countries their provision remains extremely problematic. In this course we review the main challenges to effective and reliable service delivery, roles of key players and how these roles have been changing over time. We begin by discussing the role of the state in service provision, why some services are harder to provide, or some populations more difficult to serve.

Next, we focus on four sectors—drinking water, sanitation, solid waste and public transport. Problems specific to each sector, policies and programs used to address these challenges, to what extent they have been successful and why, and what approaches may work in the future, will be discussed. Innovations in service delivery—clearer incentives for regular service provision, strengthening municipal financing, integrating the private sector and communities into service provision, will be highlighted. Students will study the costs associated with service delivery; service delivery planning; tools used for benchmarking utilities; and innovations in financing services.
Fall 2017 
The practicum i...
The practicum is a course designed to provide students with the tools and opportunity to work with an external client on a development problem or opportunity. It allows students the opportunity to apply their research, analysis and practical skills to an issue that is of direct relevance to a client. The team of students works closely with the client to produce a high quality output in the form of a publishable report, policy or program that may be implemented by the client. In addition to allowing students to translate their knowledge into practice, the practicum experience also allows students to make valuable contacts with potential employers.