Economic and Political Weekly

Online ISSN: 0012-9976
Publications
Article
Recent debates regarding inclusion of caste in 2011 Census have raised questions about whether caste still matters in modern India. Ethnographic studies of the mid-20th century identified a variety of dimensions along which caste differentiation occurs. At the same time, whether this differentiation translates into hierarchy remains a contentious issue as does the persistence of caste, given the economic changes of the past two decades. Using data from a nationally representative survey of 41,554 households conducted in 2005, this paper examines the relationship between social background and different dimensions of well-being. The results suggest continued persistence of caste disparities in education, income and social networks.
 
Article
India is unlikely to realise its "demographic dividend" to the fullest extent unless significant strides can be made to increase women's labour force participation through an increase in employment opportunities and a reduction in labour market disadvantages.
 
Article
Theories of the social consequences of imbalanced sex ratios posit that men will exercise extraordinarily strict control over women's behaviour when women's relationship options are plentiful and men's own options are limited. We use data from the third wave of the Indian National Family and Health Survey, conducted in 2005-06, to explore this issue, investigating the effect of the community sex ratio on women's experience of intimate partner violence in India. Multilevel logistic regression models show that a relative surplus of men in a community increases the likelihood of physical abuse by husbands even after adjusting for various other individual, household, and geographic characteristics. Further evidence of control over women when there is a sex ratio imbalance is provided by the increased odds of husbands distrusting wives with money when there is a male surplus in the local community.
 
Article
The targeted public distribution system is fraught with leakages. With the Food Security Act in place now, policymakers face a greater challenge in curtailing leakages and improving delivery on a much larger scale. This article studies a project in Uttar Pradesh which uses mobile phone SMS to monitor PDS supplies and finds an enthusiastic response from the users, even if the project itself has not worked well.
 
Article
We investigate whether timing of the elections leads to riots or not within India. In other words, does timing of elections instigate riots? The theoretical underpinning is that an incumbent government and opposition parties exercises control over their agents to instigate communal mob violence and riots during the election years. The motto behind instigating riots is that it leads to polarization of voters and thus benefits the respective constituents (incumbent government & opposition parties). Using time series crosssectional data for 16 major Indian states for the period 1958 – 2004, we find that scheduled elections are associated with increase in riots. Also intensity of riots, proxied by rate of growth rate of riots increases in scheduled election years. We also find that riots and intensity of riots are responsive to the propinquity to an election year. Meaning, as incumbent government nears the elections, riots and intensity of riots keeps increasing, while this is exactly opposite during the early years of incumbent government in office. These results suggest that elections generate “riots cycle” in regionally, ethnically, culturally and socially diverse country like India.
 
Article
Financial performance of the state-owned Indian Airlines has been far from satisfactory since 1989-90. The main reason for poor performance has been the high growth in its unit cost. But so far no attempt has been made to study whether this was the result of decline in productivity or increase in prices of inputs, or both. The present study thus attempts to relate unit cost with productivity for the period 1964-99. To explain the relative roles of each determinant of productivity and factors' prices in the growth of unit cost, a decomposition analysis has also been undertaken by utilizing a translog variable cost function. The results reveal that during 1989-99, when many A-320 aircraft were inducted in the fleet, productivity of Indian Airlines turned negative and the unit cost increased at a much higher rate. It is also found that the productivity decline was the main reason for a rapid rise in unit cost. Hence, it is suggested that Indian Airlines needs to improve its productivity, and weigh more carefully the impact of inductions of new aircraft on its overall performance.
 
Article
The Indian states have been the standard unit of analysis for research on India that uses official data sources. For many empirical questions, states are a natural starting point because state governments set political agendas and budgets and administer a wide range of services. In addition, the boundaries of many states have been unchanged for over half a century and those of all major states were largely unchanged between 1971 and 2000. This stability has resulted in the relatively easy construction and use of panel data sets at the state level and these data have been used to ask a variety of questions relating to the e ectiveness of public policy. The use of more disaggregated district data allows the study of outcomes across regions with similar historical contexts and political regimes. States have an average of 20 districts, so district level panels can also be much larger. Most district-level studies however have relied on cross-sectional analysis because district comparisons over time are complicated by multiple boundary changes. Between 1971 and 2001, the number of districts increased from 356 to 593, a rise of about 67%. The purpose of this paper is to provide information on boundary changes across districts that will facilitate the construction of district-level panel data sets. We use population data from the state and central volumes of the Census of India to document changes in district boundaries between 1971 and 2001. For each decade during the 1971-2001 pe- riod, we classify districts into three categories: those with unchanged boundaries, those created by partitioning existing districts and nally, districts whose current boundaries were located in multiple districts at the time of the previous census. We nd that 136 of the 356 Indian dis- tricts in 1971 (38%) were una ected by boundary changes over the subsequent three decades, 79 districts (22%) were cleanly partitioned into multiple districts over the same period, and the 1 remaining 141 distric
 
Article
This paper estimates the risk preferences of cotton farmers in Southern Peru, using the results from a multiple-price-list lottery game. Assuming that preferences conform to two of the leading models of decision under risk--Expected Utility Theory (EUT) and Cumulative Prospect Theory (CPT)--we find strong evidence of moderate risk aversion. Once we include individual characteristics in the estimation of risk parameters, we observe that farmers use subjective nonlinear probability weighting, a behavior consistent with CPT. Interestingly, when we allow for preference heterogeneity via the estimation of mixture models--where the proportion of subjects who behave according to EUT or to CPT is endogenously determined--we find that the majority of farmers' choices are best explained by CPT. We further hypothesize that the multiple switching behavior observed in our sample can be explained by nonlinear probability weighting made in a context of large random calculation mistakes; the evidence found on this regard is mixed. Finally, we find that attaining higher education is the single most important individual characteristic correlated with risk preferences, a result that suggests a connection between cognitive abilities and behavior towards risk.
 
Mean Technical Efficiency in Indian Engineering Firms, 1990-91 to 1999-2000, by ownership category
Results of the Technical Efficiency Convergence Model, Indian Engineering Industry, 1990-91 to 1999-2000
Inter-firm variations in technical efficiency, Regression Results 
Article
The paper analyzes the effect of ownership on efficiency of engineering firms in India in the 1990s, a decade of major economic reforms. Technical efficiency of firms, estimated with help of a stochastic frontier production function, is considered for the analysis. A comparison of technical efficiency is made among three groups of firms in Indian engineering: (1) firms with foreign ownership, (2) domestically owned private sector firms, and (3) public sector firms. The results clearly indicate that foreign firms in Indian engineering industry have higher technical efficiency than domestically owned firms. No significant difference in technical efficiency is found between private sector and public sector firms among the domestically owned firms. There are indications of a process of efficiency convergence - the domestically owned firms tending to catch up with foreign owned firms in terms of technical efficiency. The results show a positive relationship between international trade orien
 
Article
Comparable all-India estimates of the number of workers and unemployed in 'below-poverty-line' households - together defining the poor in the Indian labour force - are presented for 1993-94 and 1999-2000. Also presented is the gender, activity-status and the rural-urban composition of this group for the two time points. From a level of 115 million (43 million females and 21 million urban) the number of working poor declined by a little over 12 million - almost entirely in rural India - over the six-year period. Over 51 (36) percent of the rural (urban) working poor were engaged in unskilled mannual labour with a further 46 percent (44 percent in urban India) being absorbed by low-productivity self-employment.
 
Article
The change in regime in India from a multi-currency peg to a floating price convertibility provides sufficient motivation for a preliminary analysis of the country s exchange rate behaviour and management between 1993-99.Using international experience as a comparator, the paper finds several deviations from the international trends; these are mainly driven by exchange rate management policies.
 
Article
This paper explains a method that can be used to adjust the NSS 55th Round poverty estimates so as to make them comparable with earlier official estimates. After presenting the adjusted head-count ratios for all-India and each of the large states, for both urban and rural sectors, the author turns to some broader issues about poverty monitoring in India, including those raised by the non-comparability of estimates that is his main topic but looking further to issues of future survey design and the choice of poverty lines.
 
Article
Against the backdrop of policy of reservation of seats in Higher Education for the Other Backward Castes in India, this paper examines two inter-related yet distinct issues: (i) the use of economic criteria for assessing the backwardness of different social groups and (ii) assessment of fairness of access to higher education of an identified “backward†social group. On an analysis of the NSS 55th Round Surveys for 1999-2000 we show that on a range of economic criteria there is a clear hierarchy across (essentially) caste-based social groups with the Scheduled Castes (in Urban India) and the Scheduled Tribes (in Rural India) at the bottom, the Other Backward Castes (OBCs) in the middle and the non-SC/ST Others at the top. However, for the poor among them, there is more of a continuum across caste-groups with surprisingly small differences between the OBCs and the non-SC/ST Others. [Working Paper No. 151]
 
Article
This paper is principally focused on the changes in the size and structure of work force and the changes in labour productivity, wages and poverty in India in the first quinquennuim of the 21st century. The period between 2000 and 2005 saw a sharp acceleration in work force growth, and, on the obverse side, a slow-down in the rate of growth of labour productivity across most sectors and in the economy as a whole, and, a slow-down (a decline) in real wage growth in rural (urban) India. On a comparable basis, the reduction in poverty over this period is shown to be substantially smaller than indicated by other recent analyses. Consistent with the trends in labour productivity and real wages, relative to the 1994-2000 period, the pace of poverty reduction between 2000 and 2005 shows, at best, a marginal acceleration (or a marginal deceleration, depending on the choice of poverty lines) in rural India and a clear slow-down in urban India. This period also saw a small rise in the number of working poor and a substantial rise in the number of self-employed and regular wage/salary workers in ‘above poverty line’ or APL-households. [CDE WP 155]
 
Article
The study of 20 state economies of India over the period 1960-61 to 1989-90 reveals that the phenomenon of acceleration in economic growth is spatially dispersed and covers about two-thirds of the national economy. The study also finds that most of the states experiencing growth acceleration are relatively less well off. There are marked tendencies for convergence of long term economic growth rate among Indian states. The growth experience and development strategies differ significantly among states. The leading states also show different patterns of growth. In the Indian industrial sector, the existence of a sharp north-south divide is further corroborated. The spatial dimension of economic growth in India needs further exploration and explanation.
 
Article
Gujarat, West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu were the major contributors to the growth acceleration in India after 1991-92. Although the Regional Disparity may increase temporarily, causality test provides support to the hypothesis about spread effects. The Regional growth targets assigned by the 11th Plan in India seem to rely on the spread effects of economic growth acceleration in the better off states to achieve its 9 percent growth target and reduce regional disparity in the long run. To strengthen spread effects, the domestic economy should be further integrated and interlinked with free flow of goods, services and factors of production. [W.P. No. 2009-03-06]
 
Energy requirements for energy services demanded by households 
Fuel costs per unit end-use and useful energy 
Article
Collateral impacts of LULUCF projects, especially those concerning social and environmental aspects, have been recognised as important by the Marrakech Accords. The same applies to the necessity of assessing and, if possible, of quantifying the magnitude of these impacts. This article aims to define, clarify and structure the relevant social, economic and environmental issues to be addressed and to give examples of indicators that ought to be included in the planning, design, implementation, monitoring, and ex post evaluation of LULUCF projects. This is being done by providing a conceptual framework for the assessment of the sustainability of such projects that can be used as a checklist when dealing with concrete projects, and that in principle is applicable to both Annex I and non-Annex I countries. Finally, a set of recommendations is provided to further develop and promote the proposed framework.
 
Article
The short experience with liberalisation of capital inflows documented in this paper highlights the pressures of a capital surge upon domestic monetary management.It also reveals the additional constraint of fiscal- led monetary expansion in India,which are likely to be impediments to future liberalisaton.
 
Article
We bring out the fundamental and more important problems with the current framework of land acquisition in India, regulations on land and the functioning of land markets. We argue that reform is overdue and the current framework would be unsustainable in a democracy that is India. Current land prices are highly distorted owing largely to regulatory constraints and the process of takings. Land acquisition more than any other factor is the most important constraint on development and especially in infrastructure development. We bring out the core elements of the reform ? the need to define ?public purpose? ex-ante for compulsory acquisition of land, the measures that would allow the market price of land to play its correct role, and the approach to valuation. We also argue for an independent valuer when compulsory taking is involved and methods of valuation to ensure that the land owner including the farmer gets the correct value for this land in both compulsory acquisition and in voluntary sale. We also argue the need for a parallel non-compulsory framework for acquisition and develop the key elements of the same. We also bring out alternatives to physical acquisition of land especially in the context of infrastructure development in central places.
 
Article
The objective of this paper is to analyse the determinants of the growth of firms in the Indian automobile industry during the period 1980-81 to 1995-96. It re-examines certain issues that have already been extensively studied in the literature, such as the relationship between growth, size, technology, and profitability of firms. [Working Paper 93]
 
Article
This study of the implementation of the Forest Rights Act 2006 in the Western Ghats of Kerala identifies the main constraints to the working of the legislation. Community rights and conservation provisions seem to be ignored. The paper also highlights the importance of integrating the implementation of the fra with the participatory forest management programmes for providing community rights to the use of forests products. It also recommends a need for sensitising communities to various provisions of the legislation.
 
Article
We investigate whether timing of the elections leads to riots or not within India. In other words, does timing of elections instigate riots? The theoretical underpinning is that an incumbent government and opposition parties exercises control over their agents to instigate communal mob violence and riots during the election years. The motto behind instigating riots is that it leads to polarization of voters and thus benefits the respective constituents (incumbent government & opposition parties). Using time series crosssectional data for 16 major Indian states for the period 1958 – 2004, we find that scheduled elections are associated with increase in riots. Also intensity of riots, proxied by rate of growth rate of riots increases in scheduled election years. We also find that riots and intensity of riots are responsive to the propinquity to an election year. Meaning, as incumbent government nears the elections, riots and intensity of riots keeps increasing, while this is exactly opposite during the early years of incumbent government in office. These results suggest that elections generate “riots cycle” in regionally, ethnically, culturally and socially diverse country like India.
 
Article
India's growth performance has been impressive over the last two decades. But its sustainability has been in question, first with the 1991 fiscal-balance of payments crisis (BoP), and then again after 1997/98, when fiscal deficits returned to the 10 percent of GDP range and government debt grew. This paper analyzes the deterioration in India's public finances and presents evidence suggesting that, in the absence of a fiscal adjustment, low inflation and high reserves may have been pursued at the expense of long-run growth and poverty reduction. Resolving this inflation-external vulnerability-growth policy trilemma requires fiscal adjustment. In making its case, the paper shows, first, that fiscal fundamentals have weakened after 1997/98 even when compared with the pre-1991 crisis period. This has continued in spite of the recent record lows in interest rates. Second, the fiscal stance is not conducive to long-run growth and poverty reduction because capital spending has been cut to accommodate higher interest payments and other current spending, with expenditures on the social sectors stagnating. Third, without a fiscal adjustment, the debt burden is likely to reach unmanageable levels by the end of the Tenth Plan period. In contrast, a phased adjustment beginning now and focusing on a relatively small set of reforms is likely to improve debt dynamics substantially over the same horizon, while also promoting faster growth and poverty reduction.
 
National health spending: sources and uses (per cent)
Article
With the growth of private voluntary insurance in the unregulated healthcare market, costs of healthcare are likely to go up. Managed care organisations in many developed countries play important role in containing costs. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has paved the way for insurance intermediaries such as third part administrators (TPAs) which are going to play pivotal role in setting up managed care systems. TPAs have been set -up with the objective of ensuring better services to policyholders and mitigate some of the negative consequences of private health insurance. However, given the demand and supply side complexities of private health insurance and health care markets, insurance intermediaries face challenging tasks to achieve these objectives. Right in the early stages of its development IRDA has defined the role of TPAs to manage claims and reimbursements. Their role in controlling costs of health care and ensuring appropriate quality of care remains less defined.
 
Article
The literacy mission lost in 1993 the momentum it had gathered from 1989 to 1992. Campaign managers and administrators sitting in Delhi and in state headquarters had belied the hopes of thousands. It is now widely known that the literacy classes could not be sustained everywhere and that the continuing education programme was a non-starter. Shoddy planning, red tape and the unfortunate lack of continuity in the policies and practices of the government (as represented by senior officers) led to the demise of an otherwise exciting process. Studies conducted in Birbhum, Bilaspur and Dumka districts by the Centre for Media Studies, New Delhi in 1998 confirmed the worst fears of observers. Not much literacy happened, though people might have learnt to sign their names. But the campaign did lead to greater demand for primary education for children.
 
Article
This paper is a preliminary exploration of the trends and spatial variation in gender differentials in adult mortality in India, as also of the related rural-urban differentials. We pay particular attention of female mortality in the two prime reproductive age groups 15-29 and 30-44. The data for the study are taken from the Sample Registration System, available on an annual basis since 1970.
 
Article
"During the past two-and-a-half decades, China and India have implemented a series of economic reforms that have led to recent growth rates of 9-11 percent per year in China and 8-9 percent per year in India. The rapid economic growth of the two countries has not only captured the attention of the world but has also set into motion a rethinking of the very paradigm of economic development because, despite similar trends in growth rates, the two countries have taken different reform paths, which have led to different rates of poverty reduction. Thus far, agriculture-led growth in China has reduced poverty much faster than has India's experience of liberalizing and reforming the manufacturing sector. With public investments in rural roads and agricultural research and development (R&D) playing critical roles, China has been able to not only feed its population but also raise rural incomes despite having much smaller average landholding size than in India. Nonetheless, there are also lessons to be learned from India's experience. This brief is based on a book, The Dragon and the Elephant: Agricultural and Rural Reforms in China and India (published for IFPRI by Johns Hopkins University Press and, in South Asia, by Oxford University Press-India), which compares the rural development and agricultural reform experiences of China and India and examines the lessons that can be learned from both." from Text
 
Annual Agricultural Growth Rates from State-Level Indices of Agricultural Production (IAP)
Forecast and Actual Growth Rates of Agriculture (IAP)
Article
The drought of 2002 has brought home the critical need for a short-term forecasting model for the agriculture sector at sub-national level, since good and bad agricultural years are not synchronous across states. This paper attempts forecasting through the fitting of univariate ARIMA models to past agricultural outcomes for five states: Punjab, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
 
Article
The green revolution brought impressive gains in food production but with insufficient concern for sustainability. In India the availability and affordability of fossil fuel based chemical fertilizers at the farm level have been ensured only through imports and subsidies. Dependence on chemical fertilizers for future agricultural growth would mean further loss in soil quality, possibilities of water contamination and unsustainable burden on the fiscal system. The Government of India has been trying to promote an improved practice involving use of bio- fertilizers along with fertilizers. These inputs have multiple beneficial impacts on the soil and can be relatively cheap and convenient for use. Consistent with current outlook, the government aims not only to encourage their use in agriculture but also to promote private initiative and commercial viability of production. This paper analyses available industry side data to find only a limited extent of success till date. There has been no accelerated growth in distribution with time, inadequate spatial diffusion and despite entry of small private units into the industry there is no clear indication of the success of privatization. The paper however argues that considering the social benefits promised the government has ample grounds to intervene to set up an effective market for the new product while encouraging private players. But the policy and the instruments of intervention need to be designed with care.
 
Article
This paper examines a group of petty commodity producers in the Indonesian city of Ujung Pandang. It is argued that in order to understand the reasons for the stagnation of petty production in the city, one must appreciate both the internal structure of petty production and also the relationship between petty production and the capitalist and peasant sectors of the economy. The transfer of economic surplus out of petty commodity production which characterises these relations is important to an understanding of the poverty of the petty producers in the city, whereas the class formation this fosters perpetuates the underdeveloped character of the economy. The same processes also mean that petty commodity production plays an important part in the reproduction of the dominant capitalist sector of production because of the support it unwittingly gives to the wage labour force.
 
Article
During 1992-97 external assistance in education contributed less than 5 per cent of the total of Rs 9,201 crore spent by the government (central and state) on elementary education. Of this a major chunk of Rs 450 crore was in the form of loans from the World Bank. According to government estimates, during the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1997-2002) external assistance is estimated to increase significantly to Rs 4,300 crore of which the loan component from the World Bank is Rs 3,700 crore.
 
Low and High Levels of Corruption  
Article
The paper examines the basic reasons and feasible remedies for organizational weakness, and the possible contribution of ownership, industry and management structure, leadership, social norms, and institutional incentives to alleviating the weaknesses in the Indian context. The arguments are illustrated with reference to the public rail and air services and help to understand why some public sector transport undertakings performed better than others. The most effective changes are those that create incentives, broadly defined, for individuals to improve productivity.
 
Article
The paper departs from the present policy emphasis for and more recent literature on rural poverty in advocating six major conclusions based on its validation of a multi-variate model explaining the behaviour of this poverty for 1960-61 to 1990-91 which is extended up to 1993-94. These are: One, contrary to the view that non-agricultural growth would provide off-farm employment opportunities to the rural poor we think that the strategy underlying such growth at an all-India level being capital-intensive with limited demand pull growth these opportunities do not bear fruits for the rural poor. What is, therefore, required is to shift industrialization strategy from “Machines First” to “Textiles First” which has high and dispersed employment and income multipliers and linkages. Two, what follows from the above suggestion is that agricultural growth should receive higher priority than is accorded now. And since such a growth has no trade-off with poverty ratio it would alleviate this poverty more rapidly. Three, the strategy for technology-led agricultural growth is even more potent than either poverty alleviation programs or land redistribution measures in alleviating absolute rural poverty. This follows from the finding that total factor productivity in agriculture is relatively more important than these other policies and programs in reducing this poverty. Rapid and broad-based technical change would therefore require higher priority for government expenditure on agricultural R&D, extension, irrigation and watersheds, electricity, seeds, rural roads etc. it would also require encouraging private investments in seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, farm implements and machinery through more conducive interest rates on (rural) credit and fiscal and other incentives for industries making these inputs. Four, between the poverty programs and land reforms latter may be prioritized more. But between egalitarian tenancy reforms and land ownership distribut
 
Article
Slow transformation of a developing economy gradually shifts surpluses and substantially reduces the importance of the agricultural sector of the economy. This has been recognized as a healthy characteristic of the capitalist economic development. Crisis of this transformation emerges when the surpluses are rapidly extracted but dependence of workforce remains on agriculture sector. Organization of farm production on the lines of capitalist farming reduces farmers to managers of production and increases continuously unemployment of labour. The state led green revolution in Punjab based on assured market and remunerative prices of agricultural production in the early green revolution period has considerably increased the income of the farmers irrespective of farm size. Stagnation of the green revolution technology, rise in the cost of living, lack of alternative employment opportunities and near freeze in the minimum support prices has generated a crisis of unprecedented scale. Diversification attempts of the farmers for alternative remunerative outcomes have further pushed them in deep crisis because of market failure to provide right kind of prices both of the produce and finance. Increased unemployment, mounting debt burden and lack of success in diversification attempts led the farmers to commit suicides in Punjab. Farmers’ organizations, political movements and state led resistance to the agrarian crisis have not yet met with success. This paper makes an attempt to examine the agrarian crisis of Punjab with fresh perspective to search for an alternative strategy for resolving the crisis.
 
Article
“Chimerica” illustrates the interactions between a Chinese model of high savings, overinvestment and export-led growth and the American model of leverage investment, credit consumption and finance-led growth. The collapse of the U.S model, linked with the unregulated derivatives market, drives China to redirect its growth toward domestic consumption, despite the strengthening of regionalisation in East Asia. The new stimulus plan, based on investment, is limited by both income disparities and the under-development of social protection. Land reform, or the collective redistribution of the remaining state assets, could stimulate domestic consumption. But the first solution deprives the local state of financial resources, and the second solution collides with the interests of the state-party system. However, stronger social movements could lead to a better income distribution. Like two faces of the same coin, credit consumption or high savings rate reflect the crisis of a global accumulation regime, tailored for a financial oligarchy in the U.S, or for a party-state oligarchy in China.
 
Article
The paper looks at the growth and commercialization of microfinance in India. It starts out be looking at how the commercial microfinance has evolved internationally by discussing two specific examples and then moves on to examine the specifics cases of four large microfinance institutions in India. The basic argument of the paper is that most of the early microfinance in India happened through donor and philanthropic funds. These funds came in to not-for-profit organizations. However as the activities scaled up, it was imperative to move to a commercial format. The paper examines the growth imperatives and the transformation processes. The paper then proceeds to look at the implications of the transformation process and its effect on the personal enrichment of the promoters of MFI as well as the governance implications. Basically it questions the moral and ethical fabric on which some to the large microfinance institutions are built. It ends by answering a set of questions that may emanate out of this discussion.
 
Male Livelihoods in Rice Mills in Punjab 2002 per unit
Figure: Elements of the System of Rice Markets, 2002
Article
When the output of a product that has been the basis of subsistence and social reproduction - as rice has been in Asia - expands, the marketed surplus rises disproportionately to the growth rate of production. Post harvest activities that were part and parcel of the reproductive activity of household labour (in the hands and under the feet of women - even if under the control of men) then also become commercialised. Firms expand in number and labour markets sprout up as firms become differentiated in size, scale and activity. Food security comes to depend not only on the market but also on the social and political structures in which markets are embedded. One of these social structures is gender. Two aspects of this gendered process are explored in this essay. The first is 'productive deprivation' which was argued by Ester Boserup to be the most notable impact of development on women. Using field evidence comparatively from four regions of South Asia from the 1970s to the present, the impact of the waves of technological change accompanying concentration and differentiation in rice markets is shown to be strongly net labour displacing and strongly biased against female labour. Nevertheless productive deprivation is class specific and masculinisation still co-exists with a high general level of female economic participation. To start to explain why productive deprivation is class specific the essay offers a development of Ursula Huws' theory of commodification and its impact on women in advanced capitalist conditions - elaborating it for conditions of mass poverty. Poverty is shown to limit the relevance of this gendered theory. Poverty is also an important reason for the persistence of petty commodity production and trade and petty service provision. Under petty production women are either self employed or unwaged family workers for men who are themselves not fully independent but frequently dependent on money advances from commercial capital. Evidence from West Bengal in the 1990s - where the growth of rice production has eased up - shows by contrast that the process of commodification has not eased up at all. Products, by-products, intermediate and investment goods, waste, public goods, state regulative resources and labour are all relentlessly commodified. The process creates livelihoods mainly for young, low caste men. Low caste women dominate itinerant retailing, directly dependent on money advances from male wholesalers. Women are being displaced from the rice mill labour forces in which economies of scale are pitched against unwaged work in petty production. The subordinated status and double work burden of women in petty production is well known, as is their economic dependence and social insecurity. (rice - masculinisation - commodification - comparative regional analysis - comparative institutional analysis).
 
Book
The east Asian crisis has thrown up several questions. Was it a crisis which was deeply embedded in the structural policies and th political economy of these countries? Was the economic appraisal of these countries validated by the information which the IMF had gathered? Could it be that the IMF prescriptions exacerbated the malady, and thereby needlessly raised the costs of adjustment? Was it unambiguous that the Fund's advice was dispassionate and was not biased by the hidden agenda of the foreign economic policy of the US in particular and the OECD in general? An attempt is made in this paper to offer answers to these several riddles, some based on facts now unearthed, some on recent changes in the Fund programmes and some inferential logic. Towards the end,certain issues having a bearing on the future of the international monetary system will be raised, particularly in the context of the new ideas currently in the air about the reform of the Fund.
 
Article
This paper examines the working of Australia's fiscal transfer system in the context of its long term evolution, paying particular attention to salient changes that have occurred since the introduction of a comprehensive Goods and Services Tax (GST). The GST has served to increase the vertical imbalance in the system, which was high even prior to this change, by placing more revenue resources with the commonwealth government in Australia. In spite of a high degree of expenditure centralisation, considerable emphasis is placed in Australia for achieving horizontal fiscal equalisation through an elaborate mechanism of equalisation transfers, which looks into both revenue and expenditure sides of the state budgets and calculates revenue and expenditure `disabilities' that account for departures from a pure equal per capita distribution of the shareable amounts. This paper looks at the equity and efficiency implications of the Australian equalisation transfers and considers its relevance for the Indian system, which has many comparable features. Apart from the need for making equalising features of the Indian transfer system more transparent, there is need for emphasising some cost disabilities, particularly those that are structural and exogenous in nature.
 
Article
The active participation of children in primary education hinges on a plethora of factors. Physical access is just one dimension. Children do not attend school regularly, and even if they do, they do not learn very much because of a range of supply and demand issues. Let us begin with the systemic issues of access, dysfunctional schools, motivation and commitment of teachers and quality of schools. Once children reach school, a variety of factors determine whether they will continue or drop out, whether and how much they will learn and whether they will acquire the interest and the skills to pursue formal education. If and when children do drop out due to poverty/migration, rigid gender roles or other economic factors, the presence or absence of programmes that enable them to get back into the formal system determines whether or not they can get back to school. All these factors are mediated in the larger context of social and gender relations in the community, the employment situation in the area and the prevalence of child labour.
 
Article
The establishment of Export Processing Zones (EPZs) is a strategy for economic development that was introduced almost fifty years ago and is nowadays employed in a large number of countries. While the number of EPZs including several variants such as Special Economic Zone (SEZs) has increased continuously, general interest in EPZs has declined over the years in contrast to earlier heated debates regarding the efficacy of the strategy and its welfare effects especially on women workers. This article re-evaluates the historical trajectories and outstanding labour and gender issues of EPZs on the basis of the experiences of South Korea, Bangladesh and India. The findings suggest the necessity of enlarging our analytical scope with regard to EPZs, which are inextricably connected with external employment structures, whether outside the EPZ but within the same country, or outside the EPZ and its host country altogether.
 
Article
Banks and financial institutions play a major role in governance of non-financial companies in India through the mechanism of nominee directors. This paper probes two allied issues: firstly, the isolation of the firm specific factors which determine the presence of bank nominee directors on boards and secondly, whether companies, with bank nominee directors exhibit better performance/governance than companies with no banker representation on their boards. A Probit model estimated over a cross-section of Indian manufacturing firms for 2003, indicates that bankers on boards seem to exert a healthy impact on the companies. In fact, large public limited companies are likely to exhibit banker representation, primarily in their role as expertise providers. The evidence from Tobit model reconfirms these results.
 
Article
The paper examines the issue of corporate governance in the Indian banking system. Using data on banking systems for the period 1996-2003, the findings reveal that CEOs of poorly performing banks are likely to face higher turnover than CEOs of well performing ones.
 
Top-cited authors
Tushaar Natwarlal Shah
  • Institute of Rural Management Anand
Eswar S. Prasad
  • Cornell University
Ayhan Kose
  • International Monetary Fund
Kenneth Rogoff
  • Harvard University
Shang-Jin Wei
  • Columbia University