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Transforming peasantries in India and China: comparative investigations of institutional dimensions

Ashwani Saith

The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Volume 59, Issue 1

My lecture is about the study of transforming peasantries, in two senses: both as the subjects, as well as the agents of societal transformation. The differential development performance of rural India and China is explained through stylised micro-comparisons drawn from longitudinal village, and synthetic field studies conducted by the author in both countries since the 1970s, highlighting the salience of contrasting rural institutional factors, using a string of binary contrasting features displayed by the Indian village vis-a-vis the collectives of rural China. The micro-cosmic comparison poses a puzzling paradox: Chinese rural development performance easily outstripped Indian achievements in the first three decades of its collectivist path, from 1949–1978, despite the upheavals associated with the Great Leap Forward and the large-scale famines of the time. But, if the initial conditions of the two countries were remarkably equivalent, and if the external factors, state macro and inter-sectoral policies were no more, and in some respects, considerably less favourable in China than in India, how can one explain the superior Chinese performance in the countryside virtually across the board for this early high-collectvism period that laid the foundations for the subsequent high-growth trajectory at the national level? Why did rural China pull ahead, why did India lag behind? The micro-cosmic comparisons of rural institutions are used to resolve this paradox. The answer lies in the crucial differentiated role of the institutional dimension in the two countries. Chinese advantage originates not in the market reforms era, but in the socialist period when the countryside was organised in rural collectives. In India, rural institutions were generally obstructive, sticky, and posed a constraint to policies of rapid transformation; in China, the institutional profile, far from setting a constraint, was itself converted into a policy instrumental variable, where institutional features were designed and periodically redesigned primarily using the criteria of their functional appropriateness for generating rural accumulation and growth.

URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41027-016-0051-2/fulltext.html

Courtesy: Springer

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Between Protest and Policy: Women Claim their Right to Agricultural Land in Rural China and India

Govind Kelkar

UNRISD WP 2016-10

This research was conceptualized to ascertain the state response to women’s extra-procedural claims making to land through collective and individual protests, demonstrations, public performances and women farmers’ conclaves for building public opinion against the gender differential arrangements in land tenure and agrarian production system in India. An attempt was also made to understand China’s policy on women’s legal and equal rights to land since the 1950s. The author situates the discussion on women and land in the broader context of women’s emerging agential power against the patriarchal forces of the state, market fundamentalism and social cultural norms that influence both formal and informal institutions at various levels. Women’s claims are thus framed against two major related factors: an insidious state-backed development policy that keeps women dependent on the male as the head of the household; and a combination of institutional structures with social norms and legal rules that shut most rural women out of land and property ownership.

An analysis of land reform policies in China and India show that the state agencies speak simultaneously to two groups: the political elite raised with notions of gender-discriminatory forms of power who exercise influence through access to political and economic institutions; and the political constituency of organized rural women and men who wield influence through the right to vote, and therefore exercise power over the regime through the ballot box. The contradictory power bases of these two groups lead to a gap between policy rhetoric and implementation or gradualism constrained by social norms.

The research findings suggest that, as a consequence of the continued demand for women’s entitlement to land, there have been some partial and fitful changes in policies and enactment of laws in the two countries. The women who acquired an entitlement to land gained greater social status and increased bargaining power over household assets, experienced a reduction in gender-based violence, and had more of a voice in land governance as well as decision making in socio-political affairs. However, these changes are punctuated with patriarchal disorders and reversals.

The author further notes in the study that the state, in most cases, has responded to women’s protests and claims to justice and rights, in terms of formulation of policies and legal frameworks. However, these legal frameworks and policies have remained largely ineffective in changing institutions trapped in gendered norms and women’s economic dependency. There has been no significant withdrawal of male power over land and productive assets despite the fact that women and civil society groups, in large numbers, have continued with the claim that the intrinsic value of justice and right to equality lies in ensuring women’s autonomy and their freedom from violence and dependency relationships.

This study is divided into eight sections. The introduction outlines the conceptual framework and raises the major questions of the study. Section 2 discusses discriminatory social norms and attitudes. Section 3 describes the policy change in response to women’s historical struggles for equality against the gender regimes in Asia, followed by women’s right to land and inheritance in the two countries in section 4. Major drivers of policy change are discussed in section 5. Section 6 assesses change in the practice of women’s lives. Some continued challenges related to the state’s institutional structures and the market are discussed in section 7. The concluding section 8 suggests some desirable policy and action towards mitigating gendered negative outcomes of past agricultural development.
URL: http://www.unrisd.org/unrisd/website/document.nsf/(httpPublications)/222B7313533B75D7C125801E005E58E0?OpenDocument

Courtesy: UNRISD

Intensive and Extensive Margins of Exports: What Can India Learn from China?

C. Veeramani, Lakshmi A, Prachi Gupta

IGIDR WP-2017-002

We decompose India’s export performance in manufactured products during 2000-2015 into changes at the intensive and extensive margins. India’s performance, along different margins, is compared and contrasted with that of China. The results show that while China outperforms India at both the margins, the gap is particularly wide at the intensive margin. Decomposition of intensive margin along quantity and price margins shows that Chinese products are generally sold cheaper than Indian products. Higher price margin, however, has not translated into high intensive margin for India due to its abysmally low quantity margin. We examine different explanations for China’s superior performance relative to India, along different margins, using a gravity model. Our results suggest that China’s exchange rate policy was not the prime reason for its export success. Neither do we find that FDI inflows were significant in explaining the export performance gap between them. The results show that China’s export relationship bias towards high-income partner countries holds the key in understanding its superior performance. This bias is a natural consequence of China’s high degree of specialization in labor-intensive activities. India, by contrast, due to an idiosyncratic pattern of specialization, has failed to exploit its export potential in high income countries.

URL: http://www.igidr.ac.in/pdf/publication/WP-2017-002.pdf

Courtesy: IGIDR

Splitting the South: China and India’s Divergence in International Environmental Negotiations

Leah C. Stokes, Amanda Giang, and Noelle E. Selin

Global Environmental Politics , Vol. 16, No. 4  November 2016

International environmental negotiations often involve conflicts between developed and developing countries. However, considering environmental cooperation in a North-South dichotomy obscures important variation within the Global South, particularly as emerging economies become more important politically, economically, and environmentally. This article examines change in the Southern coalition in environmental negotiations, using the recently concluded Minamata Convention on Mercury as its primary case. Focusing on India and China, we argue that three key factors explain divergence in their positions as the negotiations progressed: domestic resources and regulatory politics, development constraints, and domestic scientific and technological capacity. We conclude that the intersection between scientific and technological development and domestic policy is of increasing importance in shaping emerging economies’ engagement in international environmental negotiations. We also discuss how this divergence is affecting international environmental cooperation on other issues, including the ozone and climate negotiations.

URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/toc/glep/16/4

Courtesy : MIT Press

Between Protest and Policy: Women Claim their Right to Agricultural Land in Rural China and India

Govind Kelkar

UNRISD Working Paper 2016-10

This research was conceptualized to ascertain the state response to women’s extra-procedural claims making to land through collective and individual protests, demonstrations, public performances and women farmers’ conclaves for building public opinion against the gender differential arrangements in land tenure and agrarian production system in India. An attempt was also made to understand China’s policy on women’s legal and equal rights to land since the 1950s. The author situates the discussion on women and land in the broader context of women’s emerging agential power against the patriarchal forces of the state, market fundamentalism and social cultural norms that influence both formal and informal institutions at various levels. Women’s claims are thus framed against two major related factors: an insidious state-backed development policy that keeps women dependent on the male as the head of the household; and a combination of institutional structures with social norms and legal rules that shut most rural women out of land and property ownership.

An analysis of land reform policies in China and India show that the state agencies speak simultaneously to two groups: the political elite raised with notions of gender-discriminatory forms of power who exercise influence through access to political and economic institutions; and the political constituency of organized rural women and men who wield influence through the right to vote, and therefore exercise power over the regime through the ballot box. The contradictory power bases of these two groups lead to a gap between policy rhetoric and implementation or gradualism constrained by social norms.

The research findings suggest that, as a consequence of the continued demand for women’s entitlement to land, there have been some partial and fitful changes in policies and enactment of laws in the two countries. The women who acquired an entitlement to land gained greater social status and increased bargaining power over household assets, experienced a reduction in gender-based violence, and had more of a voice in land governance as well as decision making in socio-political affairs. However, these changes are punctuated with patriarchal disorders and reversals.

The author further notes in the study that the state, in most cases, has responded to women’s protests and claims to justice and rights, in terms of formulation of policies and legal frameworks. However, these legal frameworks and policies have remained largely ineffective in changing institutions trapped in gendered norms and women’s economic dependency. There has been no significant withdrawal of male power over land and productive assets despite the fact that women and civil society groups, in large numbers, have continued with the claim that the intrinsic value of justice and right to equality lies in ensuring women’s autonomy and their freedom from violence and dependency relationships.

URL: http://www.unrisd.org/unrisd/website/document.nsf/(httpPublications)/222B7313533B75D7C125801E005E58E0?OpenDocument

Courtesy: UNRISD

Financial Deepening and Economic Growth in Advanced and Emerging Economies

Keshab Bhattarai

Review of Development EconomicsVolume 19, Issue 1, February 2015

INDIA’S MYANMAR POLICY AND THE ‘SINO-INDIAN GREAT GAME’

Sunniva Engh

Asian Affairs, Volume 47, Issue 1, 2016

Recent literature has aimed to “deconstruct” the notion of a “Sino-Indian rivalry” in Myanmar. The argument is that China’s leverage in Myanmar far outweighs India’s, and that the Tatmadaw nevertheless prevents either country’s manipulation of Myanmar. In contrast this article argues that the idea of a “Sino-Indian Great Game” still marks the Indian debate, thinking and policy on Myanmar. China’s continued rise will remain a main driver behind India’s Myanmar policy, and Myanmar will remain geostrategic relevant to India.
The article describes the historical legacy of India’s relationship with Myanmar, discusses the role of China in Indian Myanmar policies, and examines the effects of Myanmar’s democratization process. While the Myanmar playing field has changed, Indian perceptions of a “Sino-Indian Great Game” are lasting.
Courtesy: T&F