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Do value-added taxes benefit firms? Evidence from the adoption of state-specific value-added taxes

Value-added tax (VAT) systems have grown popular in the last 30 years, especially among developing countries looking for ways to raise tax revenue efficiently. Using 2000-2012 data on product, state-s...

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Does going cashless make you tax-rich? Evidence from India’s demonetisation

During 2014-2017, the share of adults using electronic payments in the developing world increased by over a third, and policymakers have expressed optimism regarding the role of this trend in promotin...

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Fixing incentives for power plants to reduce outages

Consumers in India face frequent power outages despite relatively high-quality infrastructure and ample supply of power plants. This article identifies a novel explanation for India’s blackouts: whe...

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Oral democracy

Critical scrutiny of the challenges of electoral democracy including elite capture, corruption, and patronage has led to a revival of the idea of direct democracy – giving power directly to groups o...

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Are transparency and accountability enough? Open corruption and why it exists

While India’s federal anti-corruption ombudsmen have just taken up their work, awareness of the complexity of corruption is growing. This article studies whether highly accountable Indian village co...

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Should civil servants be allowed to serve in their home areas?

Bureaucrats form an essential part of State capacity. Should they be allowed to serve in their home areas? This article finds that Indian Administrative Service officers assigned to their home states ...

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Strengthen MNREGS to support the rural economy

India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) has generated a lot of controversy about its effectiveness as a safety net designed to benefit landless rural households. M...

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Rethinking cadre allocation procedures in civil services

The allocation procedure of All-India Services’ officers to states is an important aspect of personnel administration in the public sector. This article shows that a change in allocation policy in 2...

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(Un)ease of doing business: How congested courts hinder firm productivity

The strength of contract enforcement determines how firms source inputs and organise production, and hence influences productivity. Using microdata on Indian manufacturing, this article quantifies the...

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Out of power? Political capture of the Indian electricity sector

Although power generation has been growing exponentially in India, the quality of electricity supply remains poor. This article argues that political corruption is among the root causes behind unrelia...

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Need for a choice-based approach in PDS

A large share of public spending on the Public Distribution System (PDS), India’s flagship food security programme, does not reach intended beneficiaries. Thus, the idea of Direct Benefits Transfer ...

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Like father, like son? The economic impacts of political dynasties in India

Political dynasties remain ubiquitous in democratic countries even though many societies democratised to end hereditary rule. This article studies how dynastic politics affects economic development in...

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Indian economy: High performer or Potemkin village?

The recent schizophrenic commentary on the health of the Indian economy raises questions on the true state: Is India doing really well or are we just seeing an impressive facade? In this post, Amartya...

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Are independent candidates unimportant for political representation?

Independent candidates are often deemed ‘frivolous’ or ‘spoilers’ by mainstream political figures and authorities, although there is little to no evidence on their effect on elections. This ar...

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Bank and its critics

There has been a lot of commentary in recent weeks on the Reserve Bank of India, around its capital base, performance, and autonomy. In this post, Amartya Lahiri contends that RBI has a more coherent ...

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Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

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Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur

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University of Georgia

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Most Popular Governance Posts

Unique Health Identification and Aadhaar: A case for mandatory linkage

As part of the Digital India initiative, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) issues a Unique Health Identification (UHID) number to each patient, which documents their entire journey in th...

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Caste dominance in rural India: Cause and effect

Rural India remains a caste-based society. This column explores why caste continues to play such an important role and what the effects are. It argues that trade and agricultural productivity suffer, ...

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Rethinking cadre allocation procedures in civil services

The allocation procedure of All-India Services’ officers to states is an important aspect of personnel administration in the public sector. This article shows that a change in allocation policy in 2...

  • Articles