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date: 28 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines how the chain of institutions that links individuals and communities with the state and with markets helps promote economic development and democracy. It argues that strengthening institutional chains with links at the grassroots, or local, level, such as school boards and parent-teacher associations, district offices of congressmen or political parties, or neighborhood councils, would help citizens diminish the power of local oligarchies, make ruling elites more accountable, and do something about indifferent bureaucrats. Citing the case of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in India, the article illustrates how human capabilities and individual agency can help communities close the existing institutional gaps by effectively utilizing collective resources in the service of democracy and development. It shows that economic development is possible through democratic participation and by connecting social capital with programs of the state and with market-based opportunities.

Keywords: economic development, democracy, institutional chains, grassroots, India, agency, democratic participation, social capital

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