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

Politics

Mullah Mansour Killing Highlights Pakistan’s Narrowing Options in Afghanistan

Ajai Shukla
Monday, June 20, 2016

Did Pakistan facilitate the May 21, 2016 killing of Mullah Muhammad Mansour because the Taliban chief refused to join peace talks with Kabul? Mansour’s obstinacy was, after all, preventing Islamabad from delivering on its promise to the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) to bring the Taliban to the dialog table. Was the drone strike that killed Mansour a wasted effort, given that his successor, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, is equally disinclined to barter away battlefield gains in a political settlement that would leave most power with the “puppet regime” in Kabul?

Citizens, Panchayats & the State: Rural Local Governance at the Crossroads

Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner
Monday, June 6, 2016

Almost a quarter century has passed since India embarked on the world’s largest experiment in decentralization. The 73rd Amendment to the Constitution established more than 200,000 rural local councils (Gram Panchayats), devolved responsibility for an array of services, and reserved seats for women and Scheduled Castes and Tribes – historically disadvantaged communities. Many, though, see the panchayats as paper tigers plagued by democratic and bureaucratic deficits, and thus expect citizens to eschew these local bodies.

Hits and Misses of India’s New Model BIT

Sumathi Chandrashekaran & Smriti Parsheera
Monday, May 23, 2016

In December 2015, the Indian government made public its new model bilateral investment treaty (BIT), a template for individually negotiated agreements that govern private investments from a firm in one country into another. Countries use BITs to market themselves as stable and transparent investment destinations, providing a certain level of protection for foreign investments such as promising fair and equitable treatment, non-discrimination, and protection from expropriation.

Electoral Quotas as a Tool for Fighting Exclusion and Discrimination

Francesca R. Jensenius
Monday, April 11, 2016

The use of electoral quotas, such as reserved seats in parliaments or candidate quotas, has become increasingly common, and is usually defended on the basis of various assumed positive long-term effects. However, in most countries, it has been hard to identify such effects, partly because the policies have not been in place long enough.

The Difficulty of Clientelism in Urban India

Simon Chauchard
Monday, March 28, 2016

State legislators face a significant incumbency disadvantage in India. Being elected once makes it harder to be re-elected. This is puzzling to the extent that holding political office should provide these incumbents with a significant advantage over challengers during subsequent elections. For instance, one might expect them to be rewarded for having rendered personalized services to their constituents.

Middle Class on Steroids: Digital Media Politics in Urban India

Sahana Udupa
Monday, March 14, 2016

Across the world, and most certainly in India, the expansion of Internet-enabled media has sparked new hopes of political participation, and new arenas for public debate and political action. Recent estimates reveal as many as 350 million Internet users in India, alongside only China and the US in reach and volume.

Mobilizing for the Right to Work: Ten Years of India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act

Rob Jenkins
Monday, February 29, 2016

February 2016 marks a decade since India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (NREGA) came into force. NREGA is both revolutionary and modest; it promises every rural household one hundred days of employment annually on public-works projects, but the labor is taxing and pays minimum wage, at best.

Lessons from Bihar: What the Bihar 2015 Election Says About Indian Politics

Neelanjan Sircar
Monday, January 4, 2016

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), suffered a crushing defeat in the 2015 Bihar state election. In the 2014 national election, the NDA won 172 out of 243 assembly constituency (AC) segments. But in the 2015 Bihar election, just 18 months later, the NDA won only 58 ACs. As the standard election post-mortem draws to a close, it is useful to think about how this election informs our understanding of the Indian electorate.

Do Local Leaders Prioritize the Poor? Distributive Preferences in India

Mark Schneider
Monday, December 14, 2015

In an assessment of the quality of India’s implementation of anti-poverty programs in 1985, then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi famously said: “For every rupee spent by the government for the welfare of the common man, only seventeen paise reached him.” That state of affairs was one of the motivations for the 1993 passage of the 73rd amendment, which decentralized the implementation of government anti-poverty programs to local governments.

More and Better: Inefficiencies in India’s Coal Use

Rohit Chandra
Monday, November 30, 2015
Developing country coal use has been coming under increasing scrutiny at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP). Given the history of amplified rhetoric and underwhelming outcomes at COPs over the last few years, it is not clear what outcomes