Archive for March 21st, 2012

Who should get the fruit? Gandhiji’s talisman vs. Rawlsian fairness

March 21, 2012

A superb paper by Srijit Mishra of IGIDR.

The question of hunger, more often than not, is not due to non‐availability of food; it rather is a question of how to make the available food accessible to all (1). Again, provisioning of food for the hungry is not just to ensure that people eat. It also matters to look into issues of how much and what food people eat ‐ an adequate, balanced and nutritious diet matters. Concerns with regard to the recent global food crisis brought into focus spiralling prices and some reduction in availability (2‐3), but there also one cannot keep it independent from the concerns of accessibility and nutritional adequacy (4‐5). Bringing together these divergent issues is a challenge for economic thinking, public policy and ethics.

It is in this context that the current write‐up proposes to raise issues on food security of vulnerable sections of the population, crisis in Indian agriculture, inadequate storage and rotting of foodgrains procured by the public agencies, national food  security bill, updating up of the poverty line for 2004‐05 by the Planning Commission based on a new method, and some concomitant ethical issues. The latter will be an issue cutting across other themes, but which needs some independent discussion to motivate and we do that by posing the following question.

He poses this superb q: Who should get the fruit?



Creating Jobs Programs: Worker subsidy vs employer hiring credits

March 21, 2012

David Neumark of University of California, Irvine writes this superb paper on the topic (a longer version here). Best part of the paper is it takes you to the simple micro-eco graphs once did in college.

First rising and now sticky US unemployment has been  the central point of the crisis. Now there have been many policies to boost employment levels. This paper looks at the direct policies to boost employment.

There are two direct ways to boost employment:


Why states fail? …case of recent UP elections …

March 21, 2012

Acemoglu/Robinson book (AR) – Why National Fail–  is out in the markets now (what superb publicity for the book)  and they keep blogging about some superb case studies on the topic from Uzbekistan to US to Syria.

The state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) is an excellent case to ponder based on the book. The central theme of AR is that what matters is the political institutions. They could be either  extractive and rent-seeking or inclusive. It is much easier to have former set of pol instis which not surprisingly  are quite common in the world.  What is difficult and important for development in building inclusive pol instis and sustaining them.

In this matter, UP politics is an interesting application of AR ideas.  The state recently witnessed much hyped and discussed elections. So much so William J. Antholis, Brookings MD discussed the elections in this nice piece. And then there has been a lot of media attention on the topic.

Some basics first (for those who don’t know):


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