The power of enforcement: State capacity and child marriage in India
Tanushree Goyal , Sam van Noort
Posted on: 24 Oct 2017
Tags:  

In an attempt to deter child marriage, a recent Supreme Court verdict has criminalised sexual relations between a man and minor wife. Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday, and one in three child brides are in India. Analysing data from the India Human Development Survey, this column demonstrates that strong State capacity can play a significant role in reducing child marriage.
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Political reservation and the quality of governance
Siwan Anderson , Patrick Francois
Posted on: 23 Oct 2017

Existing evidence suggests that while political reservation for traditionally marginalised groups tilts governance outcomes in favour of those groups, there are non-discernable or negative effects on the overall quality of governance. This column demonstrates that in a divided society like that of village India, where politics is organised along identity lines, reservation could indeed improve overall governance quality.
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GST Explainer: Introduction
Ashok Kotwal
Posted on: 16 Oct 2017

Seventeen years after its framework was formed, India’s biggest tax reform – the goods and services tax – was rolled out on 1 July 2017. Some consider the ‘one nation, one tax’ system to be a game changer; some are opposed to it; almost everyone has questions around its working and how it affects them. This explainer seeks to demystify the GST.
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India’s GDP: Deflating the right way
Jyoti Sharma
Posted on: 12 Oct 2017
Topics:   Economic Growth
Tags:   GDP , data

An unending debate on the GDP growth numbers brought out by the Central Statistics Office has been doing the rounds. In light of the mismatch between recent trends in the growth rate and an array of high-frequency macroeconomic growth indicators, this column discusses the shortcomings of the deflation methodology used to calculate growth rates.
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Impact of community mobilisation on land rights governance
Sanjay Kumar , Andre Nickow
Posted on: 05 Oct 2017
Topics:   Land

Homestead land rights, that is, the security a household enjoys over the plot of land on which its dwelling is built, shape livelihoods and living standards for poor and marginalised populations in rural areas. This column reports initial findings from an impact evaluation of a programme that seeks to improve homestead rights in Bihar through the formation of village-level community-based organisations.
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Subjective versus objective well-being in urban India
Charrlotte Adelina , Shriya Anand , Jyoti Koduganti
Posted on: 28 Sep 2017
Topics:   Urbanisation

How do urban Indians perceive their well-being? Is income an adequate determinant of well-being? Based on a survey of 1,700 households in Bengaluru, this column shows that a majority of households perceived themselves as belonging to the middle classes, irrespective of their incomes. This suggests significant divergence between household perception of their socioeconomic class and actual incomes. Relational aspects like status in the community and infrastructure deprivations significantly impact well-being along with income.
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Facilitating investment in organic food business through the right policies
Souvik Dutta , Arpita Mukherjee
Posted on: 25 Sep 2017
Topics:   Agriculture
Tags:  

The Indian government has undertaken several policy initiatives to promote organic farming and organic food exports, and many domestic and foreign companies have responded positively to these measures. This column reports findings from a survey of 75 companies that sought to understand their views on the growth potential of this sector and what policies can support the growth.
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Middleman margins and market structure in West Bengal potato supply chains
Sandip Mitra , Dilip Mookherjee , Maximo Torero , Sujata Visaria
Posted on: 22 Sep 2017
Topics:   Trade , Agriculture
Tags:   West Bengal

Potato farmers in West Bengal sell to local middlemen because they lack direct access to wholesale markets. Middleman margins are large and there is negligible pass-through from wholesale to farm-gate prices. Farmers are uninformed about downstream wholesale and retail prices. This column finds that providing farmers with wholesale price information has negligible average effects on farm-gate sales and revenues, but increases pass-through from wholesale to farm-gate prices.
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Three barriers that make it hard for policymakers to use the evidence that development researchers produce
Michael Callen , Adnan Khan , Asim Ijaz Khwaja , Asad Liaqat , Emily Myers
Posted on: 20 Sep 2017
Topics:   Political Economy

There has been a surge in policy research globally over the past two decades that is geared to promote evidence-based policymaking. But can policymakers put this evidence to use? Based on a survey of civil servants in India and Pakistan, this column finds that simply presenting evidence to policymakers doesn’t necessarily improve their decision-making.
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How female foeticide has influenced fertility and parental investments in girls
S. Anukriti , Sonia Bhalotra , Hiu Fung Tam
Posted on: 11 Sep 2017
Topics:   Gender

The introduction of ultrasound technology in India has been documented to have led to a phenomenal increase in abortion of female fetuses. However, this column finds that it also decreased son-biased fertility stopping, narrowed gender gaps in breastfeeding and immunisation, and improved the survival chances of girls.
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