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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What do we know about the wealthy in India? A pre-liberalisation analysis
Rishabh Kumar
Posted on: 26 Oct 2016

Academic attention on the metamorphosis and concentration of wealth has so far excluded poor countries. This column analyses wealth distribution in India, post-independence and pre-liberalisation. It finds that during this period of modest economic growth, the importance of the elite, especially the top 0.01%, declined quite dramatically relative to national income.
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Poverty reduction in India: Revisiting past debates with 60 years of data
Gaurav Datt , Rinku Murgai , Martin Ravallion
Posted on: 10 Oct 2016

There has been much debate about the poverty impacts of economic growth and structural transformation in developing countries. This column revisits these issues using a newly constructed dataset of poverty measures for India spanning 60 years. There has been a downward trend in poverty measures since 1970, with an acceleration post-1991, despite rising inequality. Post-1991 data suggest stronger inter-sectoral linkages. Urban consumption growth came with gains to both the rural and urban poor. The primary/secondary/tertiary composition of growth has ceased to matter, as all three sectors contributed to poverty reduction.
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Insights from long-term studies of Indian villages
Himanshu , Praveen K. Jha , Gerry Rodgers
Posted on: 23 Sep 2016

Much of our knowledge of change in rural areas depends on longitudinal village studies. Drawing upon a number of village studies carried out over the years in India, this column provides a broad picture of how the economic and social structures of villages are changing, and the consequences for production, employment, migration, inequality and other key issues.
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How serious is the neglect of intra-household inequality in poverty measures in India?
Stephan Klasen , Rahul Lahoti
Posted on: 01 Aug 2016

Poverty measurement at the household level assumes that the poverty status of all household members, irrespective of age and gender, is the same as that of the household. This column presents a framework to measure multidimensional poverty at the individual level and finds that intra-household inequality in poverty measures vastly increases the differences in poverty rates between genders and across age groups. The framework is especially important given that the World Bank plans to measure poverty rates for men and women separately.
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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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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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Local political elite capture and BPL card allocation
Sitakanta Panda
Posted on: 08 Apr 2016
Tags:   PDS

There is significant anecdotal evidence for the fact that local political connections at the grassroots level is an important channel through which leakages take place in welfare schemes in India such as the PDS. Analysing data from a nationally representative household survey, this column finds that politically-connected households are more likely to be allocated a BPL card - a gateway to obtaining various benefits from the government.
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How doorstep banking increased savings and income in Sri Lanka
Michael Callen , Suresh de Mel , Craig McIntosh , Christopher Woodruff
Posted on: 30 Mar 2016

Recent findings in development economics indicate that microloans are likely to perform best when accompanied by financial education, insurance, and savings products. This column presents evidence from an experiment in Sri Lanka, which involved offering saving accounts with door-to-door deposit collection services to otherwise unbanked rural households. It suggests that the programme incentivised participants to increase savings by increasing their income.
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Increasing economic divide within backward castes
Ashish Singh
Posted on: 28 Mar 2016

While the high level of socioeconomic inequality between the forward and backward caste groups in India is well documented, there is little research on inequalities within the backward caste groups. This column finds that economic divide within Scheduled Castes and within Scheduled Tribes has been on the rise over the past three decades.
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