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Lakshmi Iyer
Harvard Business School
liyer@hbs.edu
Lakshmi Iyer is an Associate Professor at Harvard Business School. Her primary research fields are political economy and development economics. Her research has examined historical and current property rights institutions in developing countries such as India, Vietnam, China and the Philippines. She has also studied many dimensions of the distribution of political power within emerging market countries, including the legacy of colonial rule, the division of authority between politicians and bureaucrats, and the consequences of female political representation.

Articles By Lakshmi Iyer
Role model effects? Women’s political participation in India
Posted On: 14 Sep 2015


Women’s political candidacy in India is very low and appears to be an important barrier to their representation in government. Does a deficiency of female role models hold back women’s candidacy? Analysing data from state elections during 1980-2007 in India, this column reports no entry of new women candidates following a woman’s electoral victory, and a decline in entry in states with an entrenched gender bias.
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Caste and entrepreneurship in India
Posted On: 26 Aug 2013

Topics:   Caste

It is now widely accepted that the lower castes have risen in Indian politics. Has there been a corresponding change in their entrepreneurial activity? This column seeks to answer this question by analysing comprehensive data on enterprise ownership in India. It is found that Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are under-represented in ownership of private enterprises, and employment generated by private enterprises. This trend is widespread across space and time.


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The power of women’s political voice
Posted On: 17 Jun 2013


With more women in power, can India’s women expect to see a fall in violent crime committed against them? This column looks at the effect of a law to mandate minimum numbers for women in public office – its findings are both surprising and encouraging.
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Boosting shared prosperity in South Asia
Posted On: 04 Mar 2013


Two-thirds of the poor in India and other South Asian countries live in the lagging regions. This column examines whether there are poverty traps that make it difficult to achieve shared prosperity, and if the current fiscal decentralisation arrangements in South Asia are working to the benefit of the poor regions. It highlights the need for shifting the locus of policy from the national to sub-national level, and from leading to lagging regions.
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The Transfer Raj
Posted On: 01 Aug 2012

Topics:   Political Economy
Tags:   bureaucracy

When Chief Ministers come to power in India, they extensively reshuffle civil servants postings. This column asks why state politicians transfer bureaucrats, whether they favour loyalty over competence, what this means for the administrative efficiency of the Indian state, and what can be done about it.
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