Land acquisition and corporate investment: Legacy of historical land ceiling legislations?
Sarmistha Pal , Tiago Pinheiro , Zoya Saher
Posted on: 23 Apr 2017
Topics:   Land

Firms in India often find it difficult to purchase land, resulting in projects being delayed, relocated, or cancelled. Analysing firm- and state-level data, this column explores the impact of post-independence land reforms – especially those related to land ceilings - on corporate investment in the country.
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Consumption spikes and election days
Shabana Mitra , Anirban Mitra , Arnab Mukherji
Posted on: 20 Apr 2017
Topics:   Political Economy

There is ample anecdotal evidence on political parties bribing voters with cash or consumption goods prior to elections, in India and other developing countries. However, there is an expected lack of hard evidence on the extent and form of vote-buying. Using data from Indian states, this column analyses consumption patterns of households around elections, and finds a spike for some items just before elections.
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The decline of rural earnings inequality in India
Deepti Goel , Shantanu Khanna , René Morissette
Posted on: 05 Apr 2017

While earnings inequality remained virtually unchanged in urban India between 2004-05 and 2011-12, it declined sharply in rural India over this period. This column finds that although the change in the distribution of education among paid workers had an inequality-increasing effect, there was a net decline in rural inequality because returns to increased levels of education improved more for low-earning workers than high-earning ones.
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Highway network designs and regional economic development
Simon Alder
Posted on: 03 Apr 2017
Topics:   Infrastructure

The Indian National Highway Development Project and its components such as the Golden Quadrilateral or the North-South and East-West corridors are planned to alleviate constraints due to insufficient transport infrastructure. This column compares the effects of the Golden Quadrilateral with a counterfactual highway network that is designed to approximately maximise national income while connecting all intermediate-sized cities.
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Holy wars? Temple desecrations in medieval India
Sriya Iyer , Anand Shrivastava , Rohit Ticku
Posted on: 27 Mar 2017
Topics:   Conflict
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The rise of extremist groups such as the Taliban and the Islamic State, and their destruction of religious relics, have led some to magnify the presence of religious bigotry in Islamic societies. Using a unique, geocoded dataset this column tests two predominant narratives of Hindu temple desecrations in medieval India. It finds that whether a temple was located in a Muslim State had no bearing on the likelihood of its desecration; rather, desecrations were primarily determined by Hindu-Muslim battle outcomes.
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The North-South urban paradox
Chinmay Tumbe
Posted on: 22 Mar 2017
Topics:   Urbanisation

Why is northern India experiencing faster urban growth but slower urbanisation relative to the South? This column addresses this question by highlighting the interconnection between the demographic transition and urban processes in India.
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Budget subsidies of the central government and 14 major Indian states: 1987-88 and 2011-12
Sudipto Mundle , Satadru Sikdar
Posted on: 14 Mar 2017

This column presents estimates of the flow of subsidies through the budgets of the central government and 14 major Indian states in 1987-88 and 2011-12. The estimates show that the overall level of subsidies relative to GDP has declined, as has the share of non-merit subsidies. This suggests some improvement in efficiency in this aspect of public expenditure.
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Declining female labour force participation in rural India: The demand side
Sonalde Desai
Posted on: 07 Mar 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
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National Sample Survey data shows a decline in rural women’s workforce participation between 2004-05 and 2011-12. Rising rural incomes and women’s education over the same period have been taken as evidence of supply-side factors for the decline in participation. Analysing data from the India Human Development Surveys, this column suggests that the explanation may instead be a lack of demand for female labour.

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Declining female labour force participation in rural India: The supply side
Farzana Afridi , Taryn Dinkelman , Kanika Mahajan
Posted on: 05 Mar 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
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Analysis of National Sample Survey data shows that low rates of female labour force participation in India are concentrated among married women in rural areas. This column suggests that this is partly because women with medium levels of education choose to spend more time on child care and domestic work.

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Common tongue? How mother tongue instruction influences education
Tarun Jain , Revathy Suryanarayana
Posted on: 27 Feb 2017
Topics:   Education

The recently released draft of the National Education Policy stresses the importance of education in the mother tongue, especially in the formative years at school. This column seeks to uncover the link between vernacular language use in schools and educational achievement using data from large-scale historical events in South India. It finds that mother-tongue instruction led to persistent increases in educational achievement in primary and secondary schooling.
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