Dr Sheba Tejani

Image of Sheba Tejani

International Development Department

Contact details

School of Government
1135 Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Sheba Tejani is a feminist economist interested in power and inequalities. Her published work focuses on how trade and technological change affects workers and the future of work. She is particularly interested in the impact of automation on gender inequalities and informal workers in global value chains. 

Sheba has consulted with various international organisations including the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Labor Organization (ILO), UN Women and the World Bank. She has a long and ongoing association with the women's movement in India.


  • Phd in Economics, The New School for Social Research, NY, 2012
  • M.A. in Economics, The New School for Social Research, NY, 1998
  • B.A. in International Relations, Mount Holyoke College, MA, 1996


Sheba Tejani joined IDD as a Lecturer in autumn 2020. From 2015 onwards, she worked as Assistant Professor at the Julien J. Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs at the New School in New York. Prior to this, she worked as a Consulting Economist with the Gender, Trade and Development section of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva. She has also undertaken numerous consultancies with other international organisations such as the ILO, World Bank, UN Women and UNDESA.

Sheba completed her PhD in Economics from the New School for Social Research in 2012 specialising in the fields of international economics and development. She also received her Masters in Economics from the New School. Her undergraduate degree in International Relations was taken at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, USA.

Sheba’s work has been centred on the distributional consequences of international trade and structural transformation in developing countries. She is interested in inequalities stemming from technological change, labour productivity growth and changing employment patterns. Her doctoral dissertation was titled, “Three essays in employment and productivity growth” and focused on phenomena such as jobless growth and rising gender inequalities in the context of technological upgrading. Her research has focused mostly on middle-income developing countries in East Asia, Latin America and South Asia.

She is currently a co-investigator on a research project being conducted by the European Commission Joint Research Centre and ILO titled, “The effects of automation in the apparel and automotive sectors and their gender dimensions”. The project uses a case study and comparative approach across Indonesia, Mexico, Romania, Portugal and Germany in order to understand how automation in the apparel and automotive global value chains is affecting workers and gender inequalities. 


International Development

Economics for Development Practitioners


Research Interests

  • Trade, global value chains and inequalities
  • Gender, informality and labour markets
  • Automation, structural change and its impacts on workers
  • Sectarian inequalities, Hindu nationalism and development

Current Projects

  • Collaborator, The effect of automation in the apparel and automotive sectors and their gender dimensions. Joint project between European Commission Joint Research Centre and International Labour Organization (ILO).


Gender and Covid-19: Workers in global value chains”, with S. Fukuda-Parr, International Labour Review, Vol. 160, No. 4, pp. 649-667, 2021.

"Defeminization, Structural Transformation and Technological Upgrading in Manufacturing" (with D. Kucera), Development and Change, 52(3): pp. 533–573, 2021 .

What’s Feminist about Feminist Economics,” Journal of Economic Methodology, Vol. 26. No. 2, pp. 99-117, 2019.

"Global Defeminization: Industrial Upgrading and Manufacturing Employment in Developing Countries" (with W. Milberg), Feminist Economics, Vol. 22 (2), 2016.

"Jobless Growth in India: An Investigation," Cambridge Journal of Economics, May 28, 2015.

Feminization, Defeminization and Structural Transformation in Manufacturing” (with D. Kucera), World Development, Vol. 64, 2014.

“The Gender Dimension of Special Economic Zones,” in Tom Farole and Gokhan Akinci (eds.) Special Economic Zones in Africa: Comparing Performance and Learning from Global Experiences. Washington, DC: World Bank, 2011.

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