ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by E SomanathanSubscribe to E Somanathan

Impact of Biometric Identification-Based Transfers

The National Food Security Bill, as drafted by the National Advisory Council, contains various reforms to reduce theft. However, the track record of previous legislation does not inspire confidence that the proposed reforms will be sufficient to ensure secure access to food for those who need it. This article spells out a biometric-based identification mechanism for cash transfers and evaluates its possible impact on the percentage of the transfer reaching the poorest fraction of the population.

Understanding India's Economic Growth

Economic Growth in India: History and Prospect by Pulapre Balakrishnan (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2010; pp xxxv + 289, Rs 750.

Climate Change: Challenges Facing India's Poor

Briefly summarising the existing literature on the causes and the characteristics of expected climate changes in India over the coming years, this paper discusses the ways in which these changes might affect the lives of the poor. Rising temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, and an increased frequency of floods and droughts are likely to have serious effects on rural populations in the absence of policies that actively help these households adjust to their changing geography. Survey data from villages affected by the Kosi flood of 2008 is used to speculate on how households and governments are likely to respond to unexpected weather events. The flood in Bihar rendered much of the land in the area uncultivable and resulted in large-scale unemployment. The state, while effective in providing immediate relief to flood victims, has done little to help the rural population adapt to their changed geography.

Discrimination in an Elite Labour Market? Job Placements at IIM-Ahmedabad

Using data on the iim -Ahmedabad's 2006 batch of mba graduates, we find that graduates belonging to scheduled castes or scheduled tribes get significantly lower wages (19 per cent lower in domestic jobs and 35 per cent lower when foreign jobs are included) than those in the general category. This difference disappears once their lower Grade Point Averages are taken into account, suggesting that the large wage difference is due to the weaker (on average) academic performance of sc/st candidates. The study suggests that in the absence of any serious attempt to equalise school-level opportunities, the current policy of reservations at elite educational institutions will be insufficient to equalise career outcomes even for the minority of sc/st candidates who can benefit from them.

Measuring the Marginal Value of Water and Elasticity of Demand for Water in Agriculture

Data from a survey of groundwater sales between farmers in the upper Papagni watershed in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka suggests that raising the marginal price of electricity to somewhere near its true cost could substantially mitigate the problem of over-extraction of groundwater. This is a pilot study from a small area, so that results call for larger surveys to more reliably estimate water demand curves. Larger surveys would also enable us to examine additional issues like how efficient is water allocation in surface irrigation systems; do marginal water values vary much more between river basins than within river basins; if not, then the rationale for inter-basin transfers becomes less compelling.

Recent Revolutions in Economic Theory

Recent Revolutions in Economic Theory one of common interest meaning that there are outcomes that are better for all players than other outcomes: the evolution of property rights (we are both better off if we can agree not to harvest crops the other has sown), norms, and language.

Empowering Local Government

This paper examines the literature on the evolution of local government in eight western European countries in an attempt to find clues to what makes for successful devolution of power to local governments. It appears likely that rising incomes led to a greater demand for local public goods and also helped the citizenry to articulate this demand in a politically effective way. History may have played an important role by delaying, though not halting, the devolution of power to the local level in states which inherited centralised bureaucracies. While some of the pattern of evolution seems explicable, much remains to be understood, in particular why centralised absolutist states evolved so differently in Scandinavia as compared to France, Spain, and Italy.

Deforestation, Property Rights and Incentives in Central Himalaya

in Central Himalaya E Somanathan This paper analyses the problem of deforestation and ecological degradation in a central Himalayan region and outlines a policy for combating it. It is shown that the fundamental reason for deforestation is the prevailing system of property rights, which denies the local people certainty about future benefits from forests. This has destroyed the incentive to use forests sustainably It is therefore suggested that the present structure of rights of use and control over forest lands be changed. Specifically, joint management of all but the inaccessible forests by van (i e, forest) panchayats and the forest department is proposed, with a division of powers between them that is designed to resolve the incentive problem.

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