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date: 29 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

India is an exception to many so-called rules in social science. This chapter considers why accounts of long-term economic growth, which assume that either institutional quality or geography is a foundational driver of change, are confounded by India. Attention is directed instead to consistency of economic policymaking, competition between provinces, and the stability of underlying political settlements. The chapter also considers why India’s growth success has been so much less efficient at reducing extreme income poverty than is the case in most East Asian countries. Poverty reduction in the east and centre-north of India has been undercut by persistent underinvestment in state capacity and public services. It has also been harmed by systems of political calculation that made investments in security and growth seemingly unnecessary for incumbent re-election. This is now changing in areas not under Maoist control, but the legacies of persistent social exclusion cast a long shadow.

Keywords: economic growth, poverty reduction, India, geography, institutions, public policy

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