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

Articles by Bhaskar DuttaSubscribe to Bhaskar Dutta

Social Welfare and Household Consumption Expenditure in India - 2004-05 to 2011-12

This paper uses a modification of the well-known statistical concept of the Lorenz curve - the Generalised Lorenz curve - and its associated social welfare properties to measure changes in well-being of households in India during the last decade using the National Sample Survey data on household consumption expenditure for 2004-05, 2009-10 and 2011-12. The paper shows that at the all-India level, there has been an unambiguous fall in poverty during these years. This pattern is also observed in most (but not all) states. It also compares the rate of growth of per capita consumption expenditure of the bottom four deciles and that of the population as a whole. The scatter diagram of the rates of growth for these deciles and of average consumption shows an upward trend, providing some indication that the trickle-down hypothesis may have worked.

How Indian Voters Respond to Candidates with Criminal Charges

This paper uses data from the 2009 Lok Sabha elections to examine the response of voters to candidates who have reported that they have criminal charges against them. Our empirical results show that voters do penalise candidates with criminal charges, but the magnitude of the penalty decreases if there are other candidates in the constituency with criminal charges. The vote shares are positively related to candidate wealth, with the marginal effect being higher for the candidates with criminal charges. Moreover, candidates with criminal charges also have greater wealth.

The Fragmented Lok Sabha: A Case for Electoral Engineering

Where there are numerous small political parties, as in India, the electoral system neither reflects the true views and opinions on important social and economic issues nor does it incorporate "social inclusiveness" . The fragmentation in our legislature can be corrected through appropriate electoral engineering. This study is an attempt to do so. It describes how the composition of the Lok Sabha has changed since 1967, paying particular attention to the trends in indices of fragmentation. It also discusses issues relating to the "ideal" composition of a legislature and of a government.

Targeting and Efficiency in the Public Distribution System

This paper compares the public distribution of food in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Based on the 50th round of National Sample Survey (NSS) household consumption survey data, the authors examine differences in utilisation, extent of targeting, magnitude of income transfers and the cost-effectiveness of food subsidies. The findings suggest policy reforms in favour of self-targeting and greater operational efficiency.

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