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Experiments in the Indian Context

Over the past few years, experimental economics has become increasingly visible in research activity in India.The concluding part of this survey offers a brief overview of experiments conducted in the Indian context. These have been largely field experiments.

Experiments on Individual Decision-Making

Part 2 of the survey looks at experimental results dealing with individual choice. The discussion compares the two dominant experimental methodologies that govern individual decision-making experiments in social science. It then discusses decision-making experiments under two main heads - the psychology-oriented experiments (or what has now morphed into behavioural economics) and experiments that test observed behaviour against theoretical benchmarks derived from neoclassical microeconomic theory. The last section provides an overview and looks ahead to the future of experiments in decision-making.

Public Goods Experiments and Social Preferences

Part 4 of the survey offers an overview of public goods experiments, an area where experimentation has been particularly fruitful.

What Drives Inflation in India: Overheating or Input Costs?

This study takes a closer look at some of the drivers of inflation in manufacturing prices in India. It indicates that "overheating", which has recently acquired policy focus, drives inflation in the short run, whereas international materials and energy prices drive inflation over the short as well as the long run. The study implies that restrictive monetary policy might be of only limited relevance in controlling non-food inflation. Public policy aimed at minimising the impact of input cost shocks might work better in the long run. In the meanwhile, the restrictive monetary policy followed by the Reserve Bank of India might worsen the downturn that has begun in January 2010.

NCHER and State Universities: An Exercise in Redundancy

State universities are the unsung arteries of higher education in India. The strengths and the weaknesses of higher education today are primarily the strengths and weaknesses of these universities. However, the bill to establish the National Commission on Higher Education and Research, as it stands, does not explicate any specific mechanisms to address the crucial problems faced by the state universities. If any, by concentrating all the powers in a single authority, the problems might become even more deeply entrenched once the bill is passed.

Changing Higher Education Scenario in India

The higher education scene in the country is set to experience a dramatic change but the ability of the state universities to cope with this change is extremely doubtful. The success of the new central universities and the proposed national universities will come about at the cost of the state universities, which cater to the majority of students in the country. This article proposes that postgraduate teaching and research in state universities will have to be taken over by the central government to ensure the survival of this important part of the higher education system.

The Making of the Middle Class in Western India: Age at Marriage for Brahmin Women (1900-50)

In spite of the recognition of the importance of the middle class, its historical fashioning has not so far been empirically studied. This study is a part of a project that examines the factors that influenced the behaviour of the contemporary middle class in western India using time series data constructed from unpublished sources. A substantially higher age at marriage, which was reached much earlier than other classes, is one of the distinguishing features of the middle class. The current paper examines reasons behind the rapid increase in the marriage age over 1900-50 among the Chitpavan brahmins of Maharashtra. In particular, the project of fashioning the emerging nation, an ideology widely shared, is highlighted as an important factor behind the increase in the age at marriage for middle class women in western India.

'Legislating' Social Change: Strange Case of the Sarda Act

This paper examines whether laws with inadequate penal provisions can still work towards eradicating undesirable social customs. Data on age at marriage from family genealogies in India from 1905 to 1980 is used to examine the effectiveness of the Child Marriage Restraint Act (1929). The findings reveal that though the law lacked adequate penal clauses, it still contributed towards increasing the age at marriage. It worked because a cultural shift towards later marriages was already taking place; the law worked by reinforcing the cultural change. The paper draws attention to the importance of the context in which social legislation operates and the contingent factors that determine its success or failure.

The Travails of Capitalism

A History of Capitalism: 1500-2000 by Michel Beaud; Aakar Books for South Asia, Delhi, 2004; NEERAJ HATEKAR The book under review is the fifth edition of one that was first published in English in 1983 by the Monthly Review Press. The present edition consists of seven chapters. The previous six are more or less the same book which was published in 1983, while the seventh chapter has been added to take account of developments in capitalism in the last decades of the 20th century.

In Defence of Revisionism

NEERAJ HATEKAR Iread with great anticipation the criticism by J Acharya of my review [Hatekar 2005] of the collection of essays edited by G Balachandran [Balachandran 2003]. Given my

Structural Breaks in India's Growth

How significant was the shift in the economic growth performance that occurred in the 1950s, relative to the shift that is supposed to have occurred in the 1980s? If one were to identify the single most significant break date in India?s growth performance, does it turn out to be 1951-52 or 1980-81 or some such year in the post-1980s? The hypothesis in this paper is that the single most important trend break in GDP growth is to be found not in the 1980s, as the existing literature claims, but in the early 1950s. This is not because the performance of the post-1950s period was exceptional in any way, but because the performance before the 1950s was exceptionally poor. Nehruvian socialism looks dismal if seen only in the context of opportunities that were missed. If seen in the context of the actual economic performance preceding the years 1950-1980, the achievements do not seem so bleak.

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