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  • Author: Mark Schneider
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: Local brokers are thought to possess fine-grained information on voters' political preferences, material needs, and even social preferences. Research on clientelism assumes that brokers meet the most basic informational requirement of knowing voters' partisan preferences, if not their votes. This assumption drives theoretical predictions on the types of voters politicians should target with selective benefits, and whether or not a quid pro quo exchange of benefits-for-votes is an efficient electoral strategy relative to programmatic distribution. Nonetheless, existing scholarship does not test this assumption and analysis of variation in brokers' ability to identify voters' partisan preferences has not been conducted. To test this assumption, this paper develops a behavioral measure – guessability – based on whether or not village council presidents in Rajasthan, India correctly guess the partisan preferences of voters sampled from their local areas. I find guessability to be lower than existing theory and low-information benchmarks expect. Local leaders can identify the partisan preferences of voters who are most guessable either because they belong to core partisan ethnic groups or because they are integrated into their local co-partisan networks. However, they perform poorly at identifying those whose partisan preferences are uncertain and require monitoring to reveal. This has consequences for the targeting strategies parties and politicians pursue.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Politics, Political Theory, Sociology
  • Political Geography: India, Rajasthan
  • Author: Devesh Kapur, Mekhala Krishnamurthy
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: Mandis or physical, primary agricultural markets are old and ubiquitous institutions of economic life in many parts of India. Wherever they form, they are usually dense sites of economic, social and political activity, connecting and shaping the relations between town and countryside, and between local markets for commodities and larger, national and global circuits of capital and commerce. According to available estimates, there are over 7500 regulated agricultural markets in India today, operating under different state level acts covering a huge variety of notified agricultural produce.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Emerging Markets, Food
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Shivaji Mukherjee
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: In this dissertation I try to answer the puzzle of why the Maoist insurgency in India, which is considered to be the most important internal security threat to the world's largest democracy, occurs in certain districts in India and not others. To restate the puzzle described in the Introduction Chapter, why did the insurgency emerge and consolidate along certain districts in the central-eastern part of India and not in other areas? Why are certain districts affected by the insurgency and not others? Is it as Fearon and Laitin (2003) would argue, purely because of opportunities for rebellion being present in some areas of India in the form of forest cover or mountainous terrain? Is it because of the fact of rebellious tribes or oppressed lower castes facing horizontal inequalities living there as theorized by Murshed and Gates (2005)? Is it as Gurr (1970) would argue because these areas are poorer or with higher levels of economic inequality than others? Yet there are other areas of the country which have similarly high forest cover, poverty, and socio-economically deprived ethnic groups like dalits (lower castes) and adivasis (tribal people), and yet have no Maoist insurgency. Is it as Teitelbaum and Verghese (2011) have recently argued because of colonial direct rule setting up the caste structures and poor quality civil services leading to Maoist insurgency in India? But the Maoist insurgency occurs in certain districts of states like Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa where there was indirect rule through native princes, rather than direct rule. None of these existing theories can fully explain the spatial variation in Maoist insurgency in India. There must be some other omitted variable which explains the full extent of this unusual spatial variation.
  • Topic: Security, Communism, Post Colonialism, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Devesh Kapur, Megha Aggarwal, Namrata Tognatta
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: This report investigates student awareness, interests and aspirations around general and vocational education. Using a survey administered to class 12 students in one district each in Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, and Karnataka, we attempt to gain a better understanding of student aspirations, awareness levels, sources of information, key stakeholders and factors that influence their education and career choices. We then map student interests against sectors that are slated to experience the highest growth in terms of job creation. Our results indicate aspirations of students are largely misaligned with the needs of the Indian economy. It is important to create opportunities, generate awareness about various career options and the respective pathways available to realise career goals. Our findings have implications for policies aiming to improve participation in vocational education and training.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Vasanthi Srinivasan
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: Besides canonical texts such as Bhagavad Gita and Dharmasutras, reflections upon dharma's complexity and dilemmas abound in popular narratives such as Pancatantra, Hitopadesa and Vikram and Vetaal stories. Popularised by Amar Chitra Katha and Chanda Mama as Vikram and Vetaal, this classic is second only to Pancatantra and has been part of the narrative repertoire of many Indians. It is about the encounters between King Vikramaditya and a superhuman daemon, Vetala dwelling in a corpse. In several stories, King Vikramaditya is presented with two or more instances of noble or generous or virtuous actions and asked to judge which is greater. This essay examines ethical reasoning and judgment as they are presented in five stories about superlative nobility, magnanimity and virtue. Focusing on Vikramaditya's verdicts, I argue that judging extraordinary nobility or generosity or virtue involves going beyond dharma whether we take it as customary duty (based on caste and class, stage of life or family usage) or even occupational duty (svadharma). It appears that ethical greatness is all about sovereign gestures through which one responds to the challenges posed by the sacrifices of others.
  • Topic: Religion, Culture
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Narendra Jadhav
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: Well, ladies and gentlemen, I feel greatly honored to have been invited to deliver this inaugural keynote lecture in the Nand Jeet Khemka Distinguished Lecture series for this international conference on India's Dalits. I am indeed grateful to my friend Professor Devesh Kapur, Director of CASI, and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania for providing me this opportunity to participate in this conference on a theme that has been very close to my heart. I understand that the Nand Jeet Khemka Distinguished Lecture series comprises public lectures on contemporary India that will stimulate a dialogue on campus. Given this focus of the distinguished lecture series and the fact that this also happens to be the inaugural keynote lecture for this International Conference on India's Dalits, I have chosen to share some thoughts with you this evening on the theme of “Empowerment of Dalits and Adivasis: Role of Education in the Emerging Indian Economy.”
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Sunil Khilnani
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: The idea of democracy, brought into being on an Athenian hillside some 2,500 years ago, has travelled far, and today attaches itself to a growing number of political projects. In everyday political talk, as well as in the specialised fields of the political and social sciences, terms like “spreading democracy,” “promoting democracy,” and, of course – “imposing democracy” – have become ubiquitous. Underlying such talk is a belief in democratic universalism; the idea that, as Larry Diamond, erstwhile advisor to Paul Bremer in Iraq, has put it: “Every country in the world can be democratic.” Yet, even as the ambition is asserted to spread democracy across the globe, our conceptions of what democracy is have narrowed: to a “checklist” model, a prescriptive blueprint, based almost entirely on Western experience.
  • Topic: Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Gopal Guru
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: The above title, I claim, represents multiple meanings that are attached to Food as substance and the Jaika or “taste” as an idea emanating from the substance. Hence, it is necessary to lay bare different possible meanings that are associated with food. These meanings are both contiguous to and separate from each other. Let us see how they assimilate and dissociate from each other. Food and cooked food are different from each other in a major way. Food has a universal value to the extent that it, as a substance, becomes an essential need for the very survival of all the organic bodies: plants, animals and human beings. Thus, food, at one level, suggests an ontological equality cutting across several organic bodies. Of course, food acquires a specific importance when looked from the point of view of human beings. Unlike plants, human beings require a particular kind of food for their very survival. They require, in most cases, food grains as a primary condition. Thus the denial of food would jeopardize the very survival of human beings. Hence, food falls into the realm of human rights. Furthermore, the denial of food constitutes a violation of human rights. Some of the laudable efforts led by Jean Dreze – who with the help of some NGOs has prepared the bill concerning the right to food – are directed towards making the right to food a safety network against the violation of human rights.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Culture
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Chandra Bhan Prasad
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: In this paper, I study the impact of economic reforms in India, and its impact on the centuries-old caste order. Specifically, I argue that capitalism, like caste, is a social order and therefore uniquely qualified to subvert and destroy the caste system from the inside, as opposed to the State, which is a political order and intervenes in the caste society from the outside. The fourfold caste system in India, as preached by Manu and practised for millennia thereafter, is based on the twin principles of blood purity and occupational purity, whereas Dalits, or the untouchables, are left outside of the caste system. We surveyed the backgrounds of the employees of multinational fast-food outlet in a large mall in eastern Delhi, the capital of India, the housekeeping staff and a few street food joints just outside of the mall. We find that the new capitalist economy, with an emphasis on wealth creation, is disrupting the caste system wherein a large number of the workers at the fast food outlet are upper castes, as in the housekeeping department, effectively destroying occupational purity.
  • Topic: Reform
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Andrea Goldstein
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: The Tata Group plays a central role in the Indian economy and is currently at the fore in the internationalization of Indian companies. Tata has some specific features, including the role played by Tata Sons and Tata Industries in coordinating financial and managerial activities and managing the Tata brand, as well as the strong emphasis on corporate social responsibility, mainly though not exclusively through the Tata trusts. This paper first assembles available evidence on the internationalization of Tata firms through both mergers and acquisitions and green field investments and considers the relative importance of underlying factors driving the process: market access for exports and delivery of services, sources of raw materials, and horizontal or vertical integration. It then analyzes how internationalization is changing the nature and corporate culture of Tata, before discussing the post-merger integration of Tetley into Tata Tea, seven years after this acquisition-then the largest-ever by an Indian company in a foreign country-was finalized. In the conclusions, the paper explores the implications of the Tata experience for the internationalization of large firms from India and other emerging economies.
  • Political Geography: India