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Ashok Kotwal
On demonetisation
Posted on: 23 Dec 2016
On the evening of 8 November, the Prime Minister announced on national television that Rs. ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: The GDP conundrum
Posted on: 16 Nov 2016
Ever since India’s Central Statistical Organisation came out with the new GDP series with ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: The idea of a universal basic income in the Indian context
Posted on: 26 Sep 2016
The idea of an unconditional basic income given to all citizens by the State, has caught o ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: Ideas for reforms in education policy in India
Posted on: 18 Nov 2015
A New Education Policy is being formulated in India based on a time-bound grassroots consu ... read on »

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Leaving stunting behind: Evidence from ethnic Indians in England
Caterina Alacevich , Alessandro Tarozzi
Posted on: 27 Apr 2017
Topics:   Health


Despite impressive rates of economic growth in recent decades, India remains one of the worst-performing countries worldwide in terms of height, among children and adults. This column shows that height gaps exist, although decline substantially, among adult immigrants of Indian ethnicity in England, while virtually disappearing among their young children.
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Inequality and economics: Tony Atkinson’s enduring lessons
Andrea Brandolini
Posted on: 25 Apr 2017

Sir Tony Atkinson, the doyen of inequality economics, passed away in January. This article, by a longstanding friend and co-author, outlines his contributions to the analysis and measurement of inequality – and many other areas of economics, including taxation, social protection, and the welfare State. The ultimate goal of Atkinson’s research was to translate economic analysis into policy actions: economics is a tool for understanding the world and taking informed decisions on policies, but economists must strive to communicate their results beyond the narrow circles of decision-makers, making them accessible for public discussion.
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Land acquisition and corporate investment: Legacy of historical land ceiling legislations?
Sarmistha Pal , Tiago Pinheiro , Zoya Saher
Posted on: 23 Apr 2017
Topics:   Land


Firms in India often find it difficult to purchase land, resulting in projects being delayed, relocated, or cancelled. Analysing firm- and state-level data, this column explores the impact of post-independence land reforms – especially those related to land ceilings - on corporate investment in the country.
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A proposal for public funding of elections and political parties in India
M.V. Rajeev Gowda , Varun Santhosh
Posted on: 21 Apr 2017
Topics:   Political Economy


The Finance Minister of India recently introduced measures aimed at cleaning up political party funding in the country. In this article, Gowda and Santhosh highlight the limitations of these measures, and alternatively propose public funding of elections and political parties to improve electoral processes and outcomes.
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Consumption spikes and election days
Shabana Mitra , Anirban Mitra , Arnab Mukherji
Posted on: 20 Apr 2017
Topics:   Political Economy


There is ample anecdotal evidence on political parties bribing voters with cash or consumption goods prior to elections, in India and other developing countries. However, there is an expected lack of hard evidence on the extent and form of vote-buying. Using data from Indian states, this column analyses consumption patterns of households around elections, and finds a spike for some items just before elections.
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Smart policy for women’s economic empowerment in South Asia
Nalini Gulati , Jennifer Johnson
Posted on: 18 Apr 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs


In this article, Jennifer Johnson and Nalini Gulati highlight the different trajectories of women’s economic empowerment across South Asia, based on a recent policy dialogue hosted by Evidence for Policy Design.

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On Delhi’s mohalla clinics
Chandrakant Lahariya
Posted on: 16 Apr 2017
Topics:   Health


The Delhi government planned to set up 1,000 mohalla or community clinics in the state by end-2016, but only one-tenth of the target was met in the proposed timeline. In this article, public health expert Chandrakant Lahariya contends that in the success or failure of this initiative, at stake is the future of the efforts to reform the health system and strengthen primary healthcare in urban areas across Indian states.
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The puzzle of Indian urbanisation
Pronab Sen
Posted on: 12 Apr 2017
Topics:   Urbanisation
Tags:   migration


The global experience has been that as countries develop, rural-to-urban migration accelerates, and decelerates only when the urbanisation level is very high – usually well over 50%. In contrast, migration in India began decelerating when urbanisation was below 25%. In the article, Pronab Sen deconstructs this puzzle.
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Cash transfers to end child marriage: The Indian experience
Sajeda Amin , M Niaz Asadullah , Sara Hossain , Zaki Wahhaj
Posted on: 10 Apr 2017
Topics:   Gender


For over two decades, policymakers in India have been experimenting with conditional cash transfers to address the issue of child marriage. In this article, Amin et al. contend that financial incentives targeted at parents are unlikely to be sufficient; it is important to invest in girls’ education, and ensure steady growth of suitable jobs, and fair remuneration for them.
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Free speech and the rule of law
Maitreesh Ghatak
Posted on: 07 Apr 2017
Topics:   Political Economy
Tags:  


In this article, Maitreesh Ghatak, Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, argues that the fight over freedom of expression in India is a shadow fight; the real fight is about preserving the sanctity of our law-enforcement and judicial institutions to protect freedoms of any kind.
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The decline of rural earnings inequality in India
Deepti Goel , Shantanu Khanna , René Morissette
Posted on: 05 Apr 2017

While earnings inequality remained virtually unchanged in urban India between 2004-05 and 2011-12, it declined sharply in rural India over this period. This column finds that although the change in the distribution of education among paid workers had an inequality-increasing effect, there was a net decline in rural inequality because returns to increased levels of education improved more for low-earning workers than high-earning ones.
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Highway network designs and regional economic development
Simon Alder
Posted on: 03 Apr 2017
Topics:   Infrastructure


The Indian National Highway Development Project and its components such as the Golden Quadrilateral or the North-South and East-West corridors are planned to alleviate constraints due to insufficient transport infrastructure. This column compares the effects of the Golden Quadrilateral with a counterfactual highway network that is designed to approximately maximise national income while connecting all intermediate-sized cities.
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Disintermediating the State: Would a universal basic income reduce poverty more than targeted programmes?
Justin Sandefur
Posted on: 31 Mar 2017

Commenting on the discussion of the universal basic income in India’s Economic Survey 2016-17, Justin Sandefur contends that a modest version of UBI could potentially save money and shift expenditure in a progressive, pro-poor direction.

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Promoting excellence in higher education in India
Abhijit Banerjee
Posted on: 29 Mar 2017
Topics:   Education


Over the years, the entire system of higher education in India has relentlessly bled talent. In this article, Abhijit Banerjee, Professor of Economics at MIT, discusses why this is so, and what can be done.
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Holy wars? Temple desecrations in medieval India
Sriya Iyer , Anand Shrivastava , Rohit Ticku
Posted on: 27 Mar 2017
Topics:   Conflict
Tags:  


The rise of extremist groups such as the Taliban and the Islamic State, and their destruction of religious relics, have led some to magnify the presence of religious bigotry in Islamic societies. Using a unique, geocoded dataset this column tests two predominant narratives of Hindu temple desecrations in medieval India. It finds that whether a temple was located in a Muslim State had no bearing on the likelihood of its desecration; rather, desecrations were primarily determined by Hindu-Muslim battle outcomes.
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Constructing housing for the poor without destroying their communities
Rohini Pande
Posted on: 24 Mar 2017

The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana aims to achieve housing for all by 2022. However, vacancy of 23% was reported last year in urban housing built under the programme. In this article, Rohini Pande, contends that take-up can be increased if policies are designed in a way that allows the intended beneficiaries to preserve their social networks when they relocate.
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The North-South urban paradox
Chinmay Tumbe
Posted on: 22 Mar 2017
Topics:   Urbanisation


Why is northern India experiencing faster urban growth but slower urbanisation relative to the South? This column addresses this question by highlighting the interconnection between the demographic transition and urban processes in India.
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How India can reduce the size of its black economy
Parag Waknis
Posted on: 20 Mar 2017

In this article, Parag Waknis contends that if the Indian government is serious about addressing the black economy, fundamental changes in the structure and organisation of the economy and politics are required.
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Rural development programmes: Implementation challenges and solutions
Pushkar Pahwa
Posted on: 17 Mar 2017
Topics:   Political Economy


With a majority of the population living in rural areas in India, rural development is key to the development of the country. Based on his experience of working closely with the district administration in Purulia district in West Bengal, Pushkar Pahwa discusses the issues in the implementation of rural development programmes on the ground, and makes suggestions to improve their effectiveness.
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On India’s latest GDP numbers
Abhijit Banerjee
Posted on: 15 Mar 2017
Tags:   GDP


India’s latest GDP data shows that the economy grew at 7% in the previous quarter, despite demonetisation. In this article, Abhijit Banerjee discusses why the new numbers are likely to be an overestimation.
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Budget subsidies of the central government and 14 major Indian states: 1987-88 and 2011-12
Sudipto Mundle , Satadru Sikdar
Posted on: 14 Mar 2017

This column presents estimates of the flow of subsidies through the budgets of the central government and 14 major Indian states in 1987-88 and 2011-12. The estimates show that the overall level of subsidies relative to GDP has declined, as has the share of non-merit subsidies. This suggests some improvement in efficiency in this aspect of public expenditure.
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Getting India´s women into the workforce: Time for a smart approach
Rohini Pande
Posted on: 10 Mar 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
Tags:  


In this article, Rohini Pande, the Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, contends that raising India’s stubbornly low rate of female labour force participation will require behavioural interventions that address social norms.

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Women and work in Asia: Insights for India’s low female labour force participation
Sher Singh Verick
Posted on: 08 Mar 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
Tags:  


In this article, Sher Singh Verick, Deputy Director, ILO’s Decent Work Team for South Asia and Country Office for India, shows how India compares with other countries in Asia as well as with other developing regions in the world, in terms of the level and trend of female labour force participation.

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Declining female labour force participation in rural India: The demand side
Sonalde Desai
Posted on: 07 Mar 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
Tags:  


National Sample Survey data shows a decline in rural women’s workforce participation between 2004-05 and 2011-12. Rising rural incomes and women’s education over the same period have been taken as evidence of supply-side factors for the decline in participation. Analysing data from the India Human Development Surveys, this column suggests that the explanation may instead be a lack of demand for female labour.

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Declining female labour force participation in rural India: The supply side
Farzana Afridi , Taryn Dinkelman , Kanika Mahajan
Posted on: 05 Mar 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
Tags:  


Analysis of National Sample Survey data shows that low rates of female labour force participation in India are concentrated among married women in rural areas. This column suggests that this is partly because women with medium levels of education choose to spend more time on child care and domestic work.

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What explains the low and stagnating female labour force participation in India?
Stephan Klasen
Posted on: 03 Mar 2017
Topics:   Jobs , Gender
Tags:  


In this article, Stephan Klasen gives an overview of the existing evidence on the supply- and demand-side drivers of female labour force participation in India.

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Introduction to e-Symposium: Women and work in India
Farzana Afridi
Posted on: 03 Mar 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
Tags:  


Female labour force participation in India has been low and stagnant over the past few decades. I4I Editor Farzana Afridi is hosting an e-symposium to examine research that explores the reasons for this alarming trend and to discuss policies and programmes that can be adopted to bring gender equity to the labour market.

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Kenneth Arrow, 1921-2017
Debraj Ray
Posted on: 02 Mar 2017
Topics:   Economic Thought
Tags:  


In a tribute to Kenneth Arrow, Debraj Ray, Professor of Economics at NYU, outlines the contributions of the late Nobel laureate to economic thought.
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Chasing one’s own tail: Dealing with tax non-compliance
Sangram Gaikwad , Kailash Pundlik Gaikwad
Posted on: 01 Mar 2017

A key, stated objective of the recent denotification of high-denomination currency notes was to eliminate black money arising from tax evasion, and to expand the tax net. In this article, Sangram Gaikwad and Kailash Gaikwad, officers of the Indian Revenue Service, outline the challenges faced by the tax administration in dealing with rampant evasion in direct taxation, and what can be done to address the issue.
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