Political Economy
 
Do Gram Panchayat leaders favour their own constituencies in MNREGA fund allocation?
Subhasish Dey , Kunal Sen
Posted on: 19 Dec 2016
Topics:   Political Economy

Political incentives are known to play a role in the allocation of public resources from upper- to lower-tier governments. This column seeks to examine whether ruling parties in local governments favour their own constituencies in allocating MNREGA funds, if they target their core supporters or swing voters, and if this has any electoral returns.
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Governance performance of Indian states: 2001-02 and 2011-12
Samik Chowdhury , Sudipto Mundle , Satadru Sikdar
Posted on: 13 Dec 2016
Topics:   Political Economy

Defining governance as service delivery, this column develops a measure of the quality of governance – also adjusting for the impact of the level of development - and provides a ranking of major Indian states. The analysis suggests that there are two distinct paths of development in the less- and more-developed states.
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Politician’s pain is poor man’s gain: Income distribution in close-election constituencies
Shabana Mitra , Anirban Mitra
Posted on: 09 Nov 2016
Tags:   democracy

Studies have highlighted the role of electoral competition in directing the flow of public funds. Analysing data from India, this column finds lower income inequality and polarisation in tightly contested constituencies, implying that the poor gain more from electoral competition relative to the rich.
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Can the female sarpanch deliver? Evidence from Maharashtra
Mithila Biniwale , Stephan Klasen , Jan Priebe , Dhanmanjiri Sathe
Posted on: 23 Oct 2016

One-third of all seats in village councils are reserved for women. The government has proposed an increase in quota to 50%, and in the period of reservation from five to 10 years. Based on a survey conducted in Maharashtra, this column finds that availability of basic public services for women is better in female-headed villages - when the female head has been in the job for 3-3.5 years.
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Building connections: Political corruption and road construction in India
Jonathan Lehne , Jacob Shapiro , Oliver Vanden Eynde
Posted on: 13 Sep 2016
Tags:  

Rural infrastructure programmes of the government create new opportunities for growth but also for corruption. This column studies India’s flagship rural road construction programme and finds evidence that local politicians favour members of their caste or kinship networks in the allocation of contracts. This raises construction costs, adversely affects road quality, and increases the likelihood of ‘missing’ roads.
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W(h)ither the State? 25 years of economic liberalisation
Parikshit Ghosh
Posted on: 26 Jul 2016
Topics:   Political Economy

24 July 2016 marked 25 years of liberalisation of the Indian economy. In this article, Parikshit Ghosh, Associate Professor of Economics at Delhi School of Economics, contends that liberalisation did not mean the State should wither away and let markets rule the roost; it redefined complementary roles for the State and markets, making each more important than before.
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Does good governance reduce foodgrain diversion in PDS?
Sohini Paul
Posted on: 24 Jul 2016

In 2011-12, various states undertook measures to curb leakages of foodgrains from the Public Distribution System. Some of the pioneer states also implemented the National Food Security Act - a rights-based approach to food security - in 2013. Against the backdrop of these reforms, this column analyses whether there is any marked difference in the leakage pattern of foodgrains across states.
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When does politics work for development?
Saad Gulzar , Ben Pasquale
Posted on: 15 Jul 2016
Topics:   Political Economy

Political interference in the bureaucracy is generally viewed with suspicion. Yet, in a democracy, should we not expect politicians to push bureaucrats to work for the best interests of citizens? This column shows that bureaucrats implement MNREGA much better in places where politicians are able to claim credit for improvements. This is good news for democratic accountability, and carries important implications for the design of development programmes.
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Courting women’s votes: What does this mean for women?
Sarah Khan
Posted on: 01 Jul 2016

In the recent state assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, political parties targeted women voters with specific handouts and proposed policies such as alcohol bans. This column contends that while the increasing political attention to women is a positive trend, it needs to be explored whether the proposed policies are indeed effective solutions to the issues faced by women.
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Food Security Act: How are India’s poorest states faring?
Jean Drèze , Prankur Gupta , Reetika Khera , Isabel Pimenta
Posted on: 29 Jun 2016

The National Food Security Act was passed in 2013. This column reports findings from a recent survey on the status of the Act in six of India’s poorest states. Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal are doing quite well - the PDS is in good shape and most people are covered; however, Bihar and Jharkhand are yet to complete essential PDS reforms.
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