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  • Author: Lant Pritchett, Yamini Aiyar
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There are two dominant narratives about taxation. In one, taxes are the “price we pay for a civilized society” (Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.). In this view taxes are not a necessary evil (as in the pairing of “death and taxes” as inevitable) but a positive good: more taxes buy more “civilization.” The other view is that taxes are “tribute to Leviathan”—a pure involuntary extraction from those engaged in economic production to those who control coercive power producing no reciprocal benefit. In this view taxes are a bane of the civilized. We consider the question of taxes as price versus tribute for contemporary India.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Governance, Budget
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Mark Schneider, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The literature on decentralized public programs suggests that errors in the targeting of anti-poverty programs are rooted in the capture of these programs by local elites or local politicians. Consistent with the literature on moral economy in political science and experimental economics, we argue that voters in contexts of rural poverty prefer local leaders who target subsistence benefits to the poor. In a high information village context, where voters and leaders know each other, we argue that local elections lead to the selection of local leaders with pro-poor preferences over the distribution of these benefits. We show this with a novel theory of local politicians’ social preferences. We test our theory with unique data from a behavioral measure, conducted in the context of a lottery with a modest cash prize in rural India, that captures a scenario in which local leaders have full discretion and anonymity over allocation among members of their rural communities. We analyze our data using a novel estimation strategy that takes the characteristics of the pool of potential beneficiaries into account in decisions over allocation under a budget constraint. We find that local leaders have strong preferences for targeting the poor, and particularly those they believe supported them politically in the past. This article suggests that free and fair elections at the local level can powerfully encourage pro-poor targeting even in contexts of weak institutions and pervasive poverty. It also makes a fundamental contribution to research on distributive politics by challenging research in this area to demonstrate the effect of electoral strategies and other distortions on allocation relative to local leaders’ baseline distributive preferences.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics, Political Theory, Elections
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Ila Patnaik, Ajay Shah
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: India's financial system has long been inadequate. With an economy worth $2 trillion, the country's financial flaws are increasingly serious and outright dangerous. But fundamental change is under way. The government-backed Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission drafted the Indian Financial Code (IFC), a single unified law that replaces most existing financial law in India and is an important milestone in the development of state capacity. Now the government must work to adopt and implement the full code.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Rasika Gynedi
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Asset quality in India's banks has deteriorated sharply and if not tackled promptly poses a systemic risk to the banking system—and by extension the Indian economy. A high proportion of nonperforming assets (NPAs) steadily erodes the capital base of a bank, impinging on the ability of banks to raise fresh capital and continue lending for investment activities. Indeed, the spillover impact from banking crises to the real economy is all too familiar, evinced by the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States. However, despite this risk, the issue is not garnering sufficient attention outside the banking industry.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, South Asia, India
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Abdullah Toukan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This study examines the key strategic risks that shape the stability and security of the Indian Ocean Region or IOR. This means examining risks that cut across a vast span of territory that directly affects both the global economy and some 32 nations–some within the limits of the Indian Ocean, but others that play a critical role in shaping the security of the nations in the IOR region and the security of its sea lanes and petroleum exports.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Elling N. Tjønneland
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Much has been written about the role of the rising or emerging powers and their accelerating economic engagement in Africa. Much less is known about how they contribute to or impact on the African peace and security agenda. This report takes a comparative look at the roles of China, India, Brazil and South African in relation to the African Union and its African Peace and Security Architecture. Each of these four countries has a distinct commercial and corporate approach to Africa, despite a shared political commitment to South-South cooperation. However, as they extend their economic engagement they are becoming more sensitive to insecurity and volatility. The Asian and Latin American countries, which traditionally have strongly emphasised non-intervention, are gradually becoming more involved in the African security agenda. They are increasingly concerned about their image and reputation and the security of their citizens and business interests, and are becoming more prepared to act multilaterally and to work with others in facilitating security and stability. As an African power, South Africa plays a more direct role and has emerged as a major architect of the continent's evolving peace and security architecture. This report summarises elements from a broader research project on rising powers and the African peace and security agenda undertaken by CMI in cooperation with NOREF.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, India, Asia, South Africa, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Michael Clemens
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Skilled workers have a rising tendency to emigrate from developing countries, raising fears that their departure harms the poor. To mitigate such harm, researchers have proposed a variety of policies designed to tax or restrict high-skill migration. Those policies have been justified as Pigovian regulations to raise efficiency by internalizing externalities, and as non-Pigovian regulations grounded in equity or ethics. This paper challenges both sets of justifications, arguing that Pigovian regulations on skilled emigration are inefficient and non-Pigovian regulations are inequitable and unethical. It concludes by discussing a different class of policy intervention that, in contrast, has the potential to raise welfare.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Immigration, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Shuja Nawaz, Mohan Guruswamy
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: India and Pakistan, born out of a single British-ruled entity in 1947, have continued an implacable rivalry marked by periodic wars and hostilities as well as through proxies. This unending conflict has led them to invest heavily in their militaries and even to choose nuclear weaponry as a deterrence on the part of Pakistan toward India and on India's part toward both Pakistan and China. Although there have been occasional moves toward confidence building measures and most recently toward more open borders for trade, deep mistrust and suspicion mark this sibling rivalry. Their mutual fears have fuelled an arms race, even though increasingly civil society actors now appear to favor rapprochement and some sort of an entente. The question is whether these new trends will help diminish the military spending on both sides.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, India, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is unclear that the United States has any current assessments and strategy to deal with either these governance or economic issues. If it does, it has provided no transparency as to what these plans are, and has failed to develop any effective public measures of the effectiveness of its civil aid programs after more than 10 years of effort, and in spite of the fact that the civil dimension of counterinsurgency efforts is at least as important as the military efforts. It is also important to note that World Bank and UN reporting show the same lack of progress in governance, economics, and human development in Pakistan as in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, India
  • Author: Rich Karl, Magda Rich, Ganga Changappa, Babu Raghavan
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In many parts of the developing world, those with physical or mental handicaps are often considered to be a burden on society, with limited to no remunerative activities available in the workforce. Activities such as butterfly farming, which require precision and attention to detail, are potentially relevant for disadvantaged groups as a source of livelihoods. At the same time, such activities can be integrated with community-led conservation efforts as well. We provide a case study of the development of a butterfly garden at the Swastha Centre for Special Education and Rehabilitation in the Kodagu area of Coorg, a region in the state of Karnataka in India through which conservation-based activities are integrated with special education in a manner than builds skills, improves livelihoods, and serves as an important resource for environmental education. Our case demonstrates a scalable means by which butterflies can be used to educate, improve the environment, and offer livelihoods to the disadvantaged in a country where such opportunities are greatly needed.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Environment, Governance
  • Political Geography: India, Karnataka