Krishna Kumar

Krishna is an internationally recognized economist and research executive with nearly three decades of experience teaching, researching, and influencing economic policy across the globe. His far-reaching economics portfolio has set a precedent in social science research to benefit global economic policy.

From designing the economic development blueprint in North Korea to advancing global citizenship in America, Krishna has forged a reputable career in research and global affairs. In his work with Syrian refugees, he and his team uncovered mutually beneficial opportunities for the refugees and host countries in the Middle East. Krishna has studied informal labor markets in Bangladesh, developed a comprehensive model of U.S. labor market inequality, and calculated the gross regional product of the Kurdistan Region–Iraq. Additionally, he worked to implement a labor force survey to collect data for the Kurdistan Regional Government to understand the region’s unemployment rate and develop a data collection system. 

Krishna conducted a randomized control trial evaluation of an agricultural training program in China to improve farmer decisions and evaluated the socioeconomic impact on the working poor of moving into permanent housing in India. He also studied the effect of U.S. federal funding of life sciences research on university R&D and commercialization, the role of economic and social policies in Mexico’s development, and public policy on Indian entrepreneurship, and conducted a comparative analysis of the Indian and Chinese education systems. 

Krishna comes to NORC from the RAND Corporation, where, as a senior economist, he served as a vice president, International, and the distinguished chair in International Economic Policy. He’s also a teacher and mentor and has served as a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, where he taught economic development.   

While Krishna has an impressive CV, notably a wide range of labor and economic development projects spanning multiple countries from Bangladesh to the United States, what drives him is a focus on finding new and better ways to improve the lives of the eight billion people on our interconnected planet.  

Krishna’s research has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals focusing on economic growth and development and macroeconomics.

Many remain critical of state of US democracy: AP-NORC poll

By Gary Fields and Christina A. Cassidy | The Associated Press

October 19, 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — Many Americans remain pessimistic about the state of U.S. democracy and the way elected officials are chosen — nearly two years after a divisive presidential election spurred false claims of widespread fraud and a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Only about half of Americans have high confidence that votes in the upcoming midterm elections will be counted accurately, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, though that’s an improvement from about 4 in 10 saying that just before the 2020 presidential election. Just 9% of U.S. adults think democracy is working “extremely” or “very well,” while 52% say it’s not working well.

In a reversal from two years ago, Republicans are now more likely than Democrats to say democracy is not working well. This year, 68% of Republicans feel this way compared with 32% two years ago. The share of Democrats with a sour outlook on how democracy is functioning in the U.S. dropped from 63% to 40%.

Ronald McGraw Sr., 67, of Indianapolis, is a retired construction worker who recently registered to vote and intends to cast a ballot for the first time this year.

“I thought I’d let everybody else put their vote in and just go with the flow, but this whole thing is at stake now,” he said, referring to democracy, the economy, ”everything, how the whole country runs.”

McGraw, who is Black and considers himself a moderate, said a big concern is the political turmoil in the country and the fact that he sees too many self-serving politicians concerned with power, especially those who work against the interest of minorities. He said he registered as a Republican but did not give any thought to party platforms or stances at the time.

“I am paying attention now,” he said.

After every presidential election, members of the losing candidate’s party can experience a letdown. The fallout from the 2020 election has been deeper, fueled by the lies from former President Donald Trump and his allies that Democrats stole the election.

There is no evidence of widespread fraud or manipulation of voting machines. Exhaustive reviews in key states upheld Democrat Joe Biden’s win, while judges — including some appointed by Trump — dismissed numerous lawsuits challenging the outcome. Trump’s own attorney general, William Barr, called the claims bogus.

The general despair over democracy comes after decades of increasing polarization nationwide, from the presidential and congressional races down to local contests such as races for school boards.

Overall, just a quarter of U.S. adults — including similar percentages of Republicans and Democrats — say they are optimistic about the way leaders are chosen, while 43% say they are pessimistic. An additional 31% feel neither.

Adam Coykendall, a 31-year-old social studies teacher from Ashland, Wisconsin, said he sees party loyalties driving lawmakers more than the good of the country.

“I feel like everything is becoming a little more divisive, a little more polarized, more focused on party loyalty … rather than working for your constituency, having things that work for people rather than working for the party,” said Coykendall, who described himself as an independent who leans toward the Democratic Party.

The AP-NORC poll also found a large segment of Republicans, 58%, still believe Biden’s election wasn’t legitimate. That’s down slightly from 66% in July 2021.

Gary Phelps, a 70-year-old retired truck driver in Clearwater, Minnesota, accepts Biden is president but doesn’t think he was legitimately elected. Phelps said he was concerned about voter fraud, mail ballots being received and counted after Election Day, and irregularities with some voting machines, although he acknowledged it’s based on his feeling rather than evidence.

Phelps remains concerned about the voting process and whether the tallies will be accurate. “I would hope so, but I don’t think so,” the Republican-leaning independent said.

The poll shows 47% of Americans say they have “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of confidence that the votes in the 2022 midterm elections will be counted accurately. Confidence is highest among Democrats, 74% of whom say they’re highly confident. On the Republican side, confidence in elections is decidedly mixed: 25% have high confidence, 30% have moderate confidence and 45% have little to no confidence.

That erosion of trust comes after two years of Trump and his allies promoting lies about the 2020 presidential election and peddling conspiracy theories about voting machines.

Narratives about mailed ballots mysteriously changing vote totals have been one persistent source of misinformation. To be clear, results announced on election night are unofficial and often incomplete. It’s normal for counting to continue several days after Election Day, as mailed ballots received by their deadline are processed and added to the tally.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge of mailed balloting as voters opted to avoid crowded polling stations. A large number of those ballots slowed down the results as local election offices worked through the steps to verify the ballots and ensure they matched registered voters.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge of mailed balloting as voters opted to avoid crowded polling stations. A large number of those ballots slowed down the results as local election offices worked through the steps to verify the ballots and ensure they matched registered voters.

Julie Duggan, a 31-year-old police officer from Chicago, is among the Republicans who does not believe Biden’s win was legitimate. She said watching his gaffes and missteps, it was impossible to believe he garnered enough support to win.

She is concerned about the country’s direction, citing inflation, illegal immigration, crime rates and a lack of respect for law enforcement.

“If we don’t get the right people in, we will be at the point of no return,” she said, adding she hopes elections will be run fairly but has her doubts. “My confidence has definitely been shaken.”


The poll of 1,121 adults was conducted Oct. 6-10 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.


Cassidy reported from Atlanta. Associated Press writers Hannah Fingerhut in Washington and Nuha Dolby in New York contributed to this report.


Follow the AP’s coverage of the midterm elections at

Biden approval, views of economy steady, sour: AP-NORC poll

By Hannah Fingerhut | The Associated Press

December 8, 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fresh off his party’s better-than-anticipated performance in the midterm elections, President Joe Biden is facing consistent but critical assessments of his leadership and the national economy.

A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 43% of U.S. adults say they approve of the way Biden is handling his job as president, while 55% disapprove. That’s similar to October, just weeks before the Nov. 8 elections that most Americans considered pivotal for the country’s future.

Only about a quarter say the nation is headed in the right direction or the economy is in good condition. Both measures have been largely negative over the course of the year as inflation tightened its grip, but were more positive through much of Biden’s first year in office.

Mishana Conlee said she tries to be optimistic about the coming year, but she thinks things are going to the gutter because “our president is incompetent” and not mentally fit for the White House. The 44-year-old in South Bend, Indiana, said she’s frustrated about rising expenses when she’s living paycheck to paycheck as a dietary aide at a nursing home.

“The more I work, I just can’t get ahead,” Conlee said. “That’s just all there is to it.”

She doesn’t blame Biden for the state of inflation, but “I feel like he’s not doing anything to change it,” said Conlee, an independent who voted for former President Donald Trump. Biden’s “not doing us any good.”

The Biden administration in its second year in the White House relished economic growth, a series of legislative wins and relative success for the president’s party in the midterms. But that has yet to translate to glowing reviews from a pessimistic public.

“I don’t understand why his approval ratings are so low,” said 56-year-old Sarah Apwisch, highlighting the administration’s investments in infrastructure and computer chip technology.

Apwisch recognizes that it’s been “a tough year” and that prices are higher, but she’s hopeful because of the midterm results as a Republican-turned-Democrat who worries about the “Make America Great Again” movement’s influence on the GOP.

“We’re headed in the right direction,” said the Three Rivers, Michigan, resident who works for a market research company’s finance department. She is eager to see Democrats press forward on a wide-ranging agenda, including codifying abortion rights.

Even as Republicans took control of the House, Democrats defied historical precedent to stunt GOP gains and even improve their Senate majority, which was cemented with this week’s runoff win for Sen. Raphael Warnock, the lone Democrat in Georgia this year to be elected statewide.

Glen McDaniel of Atlanta, who twice voted for Warnock, thinks the Biden administration has moved the country forward and weathered the economic storm as well as possible.

“I think that this administration has done as much as they can” to fight inflation, the Democrat said.

But McDaniel, a 70-year-old medical research scientist, also thinks the nation faces “social headwinds” that he wants Biden and the party to prioritize.

“I think that the Democrats can be a little bit more aggressive” in legislating on things like marriage equality, reproductive rights and voting reform, he said.

The poll shows majorities of Democrats and Republicans alike think things in the country are on the wrong track, likely for different reasons.

But Democrats have shown renewed faith in Biden, boosting his overall job approval rating from a summer slump. Even so, the 43% who approve in the new survey remains somewhat depressed from 48% a year ago and much lower than 60% nearly two years ago, a month after he took office.

Seventy-seven percent of Democrats, but only 10% of Republicans, approve of Biden.

While many Americans don’t entirely blame Biden for high inflation, AP-NORC polling this year showed Biden consistently hit for his handling of the economy.

As in recent months, the new poll shows only a quarter of U.S. adults say economic conditions are good, while three-quarters call them bad. Nine in 10 Republicans, along with about 6 in 10 Democrats, say the economy is in bad shape. Ratings of the economy have soured amid record-high inflation, even as Biden touts falling gas prices and a low unemployment rate at 3.7%.

Joshua Steffens doubts that the job market is as good as indicators show. The 47-year-old in St. Augustine, Florida, said he has been unemployed and struggling to find an information technology job since September.

“Even though they’re trying to claim that things are looking good,” Steffens said, “in the trenches, it definitely does not appear that it’s so accurate.”

Biden’s shopping and vacationing, captured on broadcast news, is “tone deaf,” said the Republican, who called the president “a habitual liar.”

Steffens said he and his wife are experiencing rising expenses for electricity and groceries, and relying on his wife’s income has “put a strain” on their holiday shopping. He doesn’t think Biden is handling high inflation well.

“If he has policies that he’s trying to push through, then they’re not working currently,” Steffens said.


The poll of 1,124 adults was conducted Dec. 1-5 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

AP-NORC Poll: Americans say holiday gifts harder to afford

By Dee-Ann Durbin | The Associated Press

December 14, 2022

More than half of U.S. adults say it’s harder to afford the holiday gifts they want to give this year.

Sixty-nine percent of them say they have seen higher prices for holiday gifts in recent months, up from 58% last year, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

And 57% say it has been harder to afford the things they want to give, a dramatic increase from 40% one year ago. The vast majority of those finding it harder to afford gifts say they’ve cut back on giving as a result.

Last year, 89-year-old Darlene Huffman used some of her government stimulus money to buy KitchenAid food choppers — which cost around $40 — for her six children. But this year, with the price of gas, groceries and other basics eating into her limited income, Huffman is downsizing. She plans to buy them each a $10 trash can that attaches to the backseat of a car.

“I have to watch my p’s and q’s. But God has supplied all my needs and I’m not complaining,” said Huffman, who will spend much of the season volunteering at food and clothing banks in her hometown of Greenville, Ohio.

U.S. inflation appears to be cooling; consumer prices fell for the fifth straight month in November, the government said Tuesday. But prices were still 7.1% higher than a year earlier, an increase felt most acutely by low-income households.

About two-thirds of Americans in households earning less than $50,000 annually say they’ve had a harder time affording gifts and food for holiday meals this year, according to the AP-NORC poll. About 6 in 10 of those in households earning between $50,000 and $99,999 found it harder to afford gifts and food, along with half of higher-income households.

Roslyn Coble doesn’t plan to buy holiday gifts this year. Coble, 63, lives on monthly disability checks and has struggled with higher prices for food and other necessities this year.

“I’m less interested in going out and trying to buy things,” said Coble, of Oakboro, North Carolina. “I’m not as much into it this year.”

Coble is looking forward to spending the holidays with family. And she’s expecting a small raise in her disability payments in January.

“Next Christmas I’ll be able to do more,” she said.

The poll shows nearly all Americans — 95% — have seen higher-than-usual prices for groceries in recent months, up from 85% last year, according to the poll. The U.S. government estimates food prices will be up 9.5% to 10.5% this year; historically, they’ve risen only 2% annually.

Eighty-three percent said they had experienced inflationary gas prices, about the same number as last year. Seventy-four percent reported higher electricity bills, up from 57% last year.

As a result, many buyers may be looking for discounts this year, and retailers are likely to respond. The average discount rate across all categories online was 31% on Thanksgiving, up from 27% last year, according to Salesforce.

Tierra Tucker, a 34-year-old day care worker in Chicago, said she’s been shopping since Black Friday for her twin 13-year-old daughters and has found deals on many of the gifts they’re getting, including iPads, purses, clothes and bracelet-making kits.

Tucker hasn’t cut back on gifts for her daughters this year, but she won’t be spending as much on others. Tucker recently moved and said she has had to focus on getting things for her new house. So her seven nieces and nephews will get gift cards instead of toys.

Overall U.S. holiday sales are expected to grow at a slower pace than last year. The National Retail Federation, the largest retail trade group, expects holiday sales to grow 6% to 8% this year, down from 13.5% in 2021.

Daniel Reyes, a postal worker from Midland, Texas, said he made more money than usual this year thanks to overtime. But he’s still thinking twice about what be buys in the face of steep price increases and losses to his 401(k) plan.

“I do give it a beat. If I need it, I need it, so I will get it,” he said. “But some of the luxuries, like beer or wine, maybe I’m not going to buy because everything is more expensive.”

Reyes, 51, spent $1,200 last Christmas buying handguns for his two adult children. But this year he has already warned them not to expect high-end gifts.

“I’d rather spend $200 and buy steaks and all the fixings,” Reyes said. “We’ll make it more about family than about material items.”


The poll of 1,124 adults was conducted Dec. 1-5 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Dems, GOP have distinct priorities for 2023: AP-NORC poll

By Hannah Fingerhut | The Associated Press

January 1, 2023

WASHINGTON (AP) — Eva Guzman’s expenses have swelled, but she feels comfortable financially thanks to the savings she and her late husband stockpiled for a rainy day. Nevertheless, the 80-year-old retired library clerk in San Antonio limits trips to the grocery store, adjusts the thermostat to save on utilities and tries to help her grandchildren and great-grandchildren get what they need.

It was difficult to raise her own four children, Guzman said, but she and her husband were able to manage. She doesn’t know how young families today stay financially afloat with such high prices for groceries and clothes.

“It’s really gotten worse in this age for a lot of people,” said Guzman, who identifies as a conservative and blames President Joe Biden for inflation and economic instability. “It’s really getting out of hand.”

Like Guzman, 30% of people in the United States consider inflation a high priority for the country, named in an open-ended question as one of up to five issues for the government to work on in 2023, according to a December poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That’s roughly twice the percentage as a year ago, though down from 40% in June, with inflation easing somewhat despite remaining high.

Overall, the economy in general remains a bipartisan issue, mentioned by most U.S. adults across party lines. But the poll finds Republicans and Democrats have sharply distinct views of priorities for the country in the new year. More Republicans than Democrats name inflation, gas and food prices, energy and immigration, while Democrats focus on health care, climate change, poverty, racism, abortion and women’s rights.

Elizabeth Stephens, a 41-year-old Democratic-leaning independent in Houston, recognizes that inflation is an issue right now. But she thinks there are other problems that the government should focus on addressing.

“Inflation comes and goes,” said Stephens, a manager working in learning and development. But issues such as poverty and health care disparities, she said, “are always there.”

“Even if the economy is great, there are still people who are suffering,” Stephens added.

There is broad skepticism from members of both parties that progress will be made on the issues about which the public most cares. In the poll results and in interviews with the AP, many people cite hostile political divisions as part of the problem.

Stephens said the country is so divided that “it seems close to impossible” to imagine there would be progress this year.

Glenn Murray, a 59-year-old in Little Mountain, South Carolina, also called out the distance between the left and the right, wishing that politicians would recognize the “truth in the middle.” But his priorities are different from Stephens’.

Murray, a moderate Republican, thinks inflation and the economy are critical issues and he worries that the U.S. will soon face a recession. But he is also concerned about energy policy, suggesting the nation’s reliance on foreign oil is driving up gas prices, and he describes the surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border as “unsustainable.”

“I definitely understand that immigration is what helped build this country … but you have to have guardrails,” said Murray, who works for a university’s audit services. “You just can’t open the gates and let everyone in that wants to come in.”

Named by 45% of Republicans, immigration is one of the GOP’s leading priorities. The Supreme Court recently extended Trump-era pandemic restrictions on people seeking asylum, as thousands of migrants gathered on the Mexico side of the border seeking to the enter the United States.

Roughly 2 in 10 Republicans also name crime, foreign policy issues, energy and health care. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to specifically name inflation, 37% vs. 26%, and gas prices, 22% vs. 7%.

Among Democrats, about 4 in 10 rank climate change and health care, 3 in 10 prioritize gun issues and roughly one-quarter name education and abortion or women’s rights. Roughly 2 in 10 Democrats name racism and poverty.

For 24-year-old Osbaldo Cruz, the country’s minimum wage is insufficient, especially to keep up with high inflation. But the Democrat, who works as an assistant manager at a fast-food restaurant, equally prioritizes climate change and gun policy, issues that have been close to his home in Las Vegas.

Seeing record temperatures and increasing waste, Cruz worries that conditions on Earth won’t be livable in the future. “People pretty much think short term, so we never take the time to invest in proper long-term solutions,” he said.

And while he said he understands the importance of the right to bear arms, he’s concerned with how easy it is for people to get a gun.

Joseph Wiseman, a 52-year-old Presbyterian pastor in Wichita, Kansas, wants the country to prioritize protections for women’s health care, including access to abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and LGBTQ individuals.

“I’m very concerned that basic human rights are under threat,” he said. “The blatant politicization of the Supreme Court and the handing down of that ruling really brought home in stark circumstance how deadly important this is for the livelihood of 51% of God’s children.”

Wiseman was a lifelong Republican up until the past few years, registering instead as a Democrat. He said he worries about the “dangerous” shift toward authoritarianism and Christian nationalism happening in the country, especially within the GOP.

Still, he said he has to be hopeful.

“I have to be optimistic that the threat will be met and that basic human rights can be secured for all,” Wiseman said.

Most of those surveyed say the opposite. About three-quarters of U.S. adults say they are not confident in the ability of the federal government to make progress on the important problems facing the country in 2023, according to the poll.

About one-third of Republicans and Democrats name the state of politics as a critical issue facing the country.

Michael Holcomb, a 35-year-old audio technician in Los Angeles, wants less polarization in the election process, which he thinks leads politicians to be more extreme. But he sees the issue as extending beyond politics.

“I think that it’s more of a cultural problem,” the independent said. “We all have to figure out a way to get past it.”


The poll of 1,124 adults was conducted Dec. 1-5 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.