Are India’s government-subsidised solar shops thriving or barely surviving?
Jennifer Richmond , Kartikeya Singh
Posted on: 10 Aug 2017

Government of India’s Akshay Urja programme sought to support the establishment of at least one shop per district for the sale of subsidised solar-powered technologies. Based on a survey of shop owners, this column finds that while the programme has been successful in establishing a network of solar shops across the country, many of the owners struggle to connect their products to large markets of consumers.
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Should emerging markets worry about US monetary policy announcements?
Poonam Gupta , Oliver Masetti , David Rosenblatt
Posted on: 03 Aug 2017

Emerging economies are routinely affected by monetary policy announcements in the US. This column finds that US monetary policy surprises have a significant impact on emerging economies’ exchange rates, equity prices, and bond yields. The impact is larger for surprise tightening of policy than for surprise easing, and disproportionately larger for large surprises. The spillover effects of policy announcements of other advanced economies are much weaker than those of the US.
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What does the new IIP series tell us about the state of manufacturing in India?
Radhika Pandey , Amey Sapre , Pramod Sinha
Posted on: 02 Aug 2017
Topics:   Economic Growth

In May 2017, the Central Statistics Office released the new series of the Index of Industrial Production with 2011-12 as the base year, after a comprehensive revision of computation methods. The series almost entirely reverses the performance picture of Indian manufacturing, showing sharp upward revisions in the growth of activity. This column finds that the new index is likely to show inflated growth during times of falling inflation. Thus, deciphering the actual change in production continues to be difficult.
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Midday meals scheme: Are corruption claims exaggerated?
Monika Yadav
Posted on: 31 Jul 2017

Soon after Aadhaar was made compulsory for availing midday meals in schools, the government claimed that the move had helped expose several instances of schools siphoning off funds under the scheme by reporting inflated student enrolment. Comparing official data with that from the Indian Human Development Survey, this column shows that corruption in the scheme is less than what is being alleged - and not of the nature that Aadhaar can check.
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The economic and political consequences of India’s demonetisation
Abhijit Banerjee , Namrata Kala
Posted on: 26 Jul 2017

The ruling party at the centre won the Uttar Pradesh state election despite its demonetisation policy having some negative economic impacts on the Indian economy. By combining primary data from surveys of wholesale and retail traders, with secondary data on wholesale markets, this column seeks to analyse why this was so.
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India’s slum leaders - II
Adam Auerbach , Tariq Thachil
Posted on: 21 Jul 2017

The second part of the two-part column on slum leaders discusses who these leaders are - their age, professions, and relationships with political parties - and how they build support within their communities.
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India’s slum leaders - I
Adam Auerbach , Tariq Thachil
Posted on: 20 Jul 2017

India’s demographic shift to cities has been accompanied by a number of pressing governance and developmental challenges, among the most serious of which is the rampant spread of slum settlements. Within these poor urban neighbourhoods, certain residents rise to prominent positions of local authority. Based on resident and leader surveys conducted during 2015-2016 in Jaipur and Bhopal, this two-part column provides insights on these informal slum leaders.

The first part focusses on the range of activities slum leaders perform for residents, and the ways in which leaders emerge from within their communities.

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Off-grid solar power and the future of rural electrification in India
Michaёl Aklin , Patrick Bayer , S.P. Harish , Johannes Urpelainen
Posted on: 17 Jul 2017
Topics:   Environment

Off-grid solar power is a potential alternative to grid extension in rural electrification. This column reports results from a recent experiment with an off-grid lighting intervention in Uttar Pradesh. While little evidence of broader socioeconomic changes was found, the study suggests that kerosene subsidies likely hold back the expansion of off-grid solar markets, and that there are many ways in which benefits of off-grid solar power can be enhanced.
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Changes in the nature of female workforce participation in India
P.C. Mohanan
Posted on: 14 Jul 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
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Declining female workforce participation in India is a matter of grave concern, and a puzzle in the face of increased overall economic growth. This column shows that although the proportion of working women – based on estimates from the National Sample Survey - has fallen, there is improvement in terms of the number of days of work by women in the workforce, especially in rural areas.

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Climate change: The potential impact on global agricultural markets
Arnaud Costinot , Dave Donaldson , Cory Smith
Posted on: 07 Jul 2017

Many fear that climate change will have severe effects on the global economy, particularly through the threat to food production and farmers’ earnings. This column suggests that much of the potential harm could be avoided if farmers can switch their crops in response to changing relative yields. But it is ‘intra-national trade’ – trade among farmers and between farmers and consumers within countries – rather than international trade that will be crucial in alleviating the consequences of climate change.
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