Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

Politics

Ignorance is Bliss: The Truth About Inequality in India

Sanjoy Chakravorty
Monday, October 8, 2018

Like a recurring rash, a little war of words has broken out in the media and Twitterverse about the extent of inequality in India and whether it is growing. The catalyst this time is the publication of James Crabtree’s book The Billionaire Raj. The same thing happened last year when Luke Chancel and Thomas Piketty published their paper “Indian Income Inequality, 1922-2015: From British Raj to Billionaire Raj?” Both are solid contributions that agree on one thing—economic inequality in India is very high and increasing because of the rise of a super-wealthy class.

Asian Basing in Africa: India’s Setback in Seychelles Could Be Worse

Nilanthi Samaranayake
Monday, September 24, 2018

During his June 2018 state visit to India, President Danny Faure of Seychelles was given the red-carpet treatment. He took home major gains in defense for the tiny Indian Ocean nation: a second Dornier aircraft, a $100 million line of credit for maritime security cooperation, and a white shipping information-sharing agreement. However, Seychelles did not reverse its rejection of a military base sought by India despite some careful diplomatic couching about the two countries’ shared interests.

Post-Wuhan Options for India

Rupakjyoti Borah
Monday, September 10, 2018

The Wuhan Summit between India and China has to be seen in the backdrop of wider developments in the Indo-Pacific region. It is important that New Delhi and Beijing are able to manage their differences, as both of them need to concentrate on their economic development.

India’s Internal Water Wars

Scott Moore
Monday, August 27, 2018

Nearly fifteen years ago, the former head of India’s Central Water Commission warned that “hydro-politics is threatening the very fabric of federalism” in the world’s second most populous country. Virtually all the subcontinent’s major rivers, including the Indus, the Ganges, and the Brahmaputra, are the subject of some level of contention. But while these international transboundary waterways receive most of the attention, it is India’s internal water wars that may well be most significant for its future.

On Wedges and Spatial Price Gaps

Shoumitro Chatterjee
Monday, July 30, 2018

Indian farmers realize extremely low revenues. Revenues can be low either because farmers are unproductive and/or because they receive low prices for their output. While productivity relates mostly with technical aspects of farming, price realization depends on the state of the agricultural economy and can potentially be addressed by economic policy. In this article, I will discuss two dimensions of prices—wedges and dispersion—and shed light on some common misconceptions.

Are Intermediaries Bad?

Institutional Tug of War: The Election Commission in a Time of Executive Resurgence

Susan Ostermann & Amit Ahuja
Monday, July 16, 2018

Scholarly and popular accounts of institutions in developing countries have largely been dominated by twin narratives of institutional capture and decay. The Indian Election Commission (EC), however, acts with integrity and has capably expanded its power. What explains the EC’s surprising success?

The Study of India in the United States

Devesh Kapur
Friday, June 29, 2018

The study of India in the United States was relatively modest prior to India’s independence. In 1939, the great Sanskritist, W. Norman Brown, who established the first academic department of South Asian Studies in the US reflected, “It takes no gift of prophesy to predict that [during the second half of the twentieth century] the world will include a vigorous India, possibly politically free, conceivably a dominant power in the Orient, and certainly intellectually vital and productive.

(Re)presenting Indian Women Outside India

Ravinder Kaur
Monday, June 18, 2018

Indian historians have expended much labor and analytical acumen in deconstructing the colonial construction of Indian women and gender relations in India. The British had highlighted the “low status” of Indian women by citing cultural practices such as purdah (veiling), sati (widow immolation), child marriage and dowry, not to mention female infanticide. Since then, these practices began to metonymically represent Indian women to the outside world as being subjugated and lacking any rights or agency of their own.

Rethinking the Developmental Capacities of the Indian State

Adnan Naseemullah
Monday, June 4, 2018

Narendra Modi’s election, now four years ago, brought tremendous optimism to many observers of the Indian economy. Finally, the man who many thought had achieved economic miracles in Gujarat would govern India with similar discipline, encouraging both domestic and foreign investment and thus unleashing the full potential of the market to drive India’s economic transformation. Four years later, however, Modi’s project of governance reform has stalled.