Economic Development and Social Opportunity
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India by Jean Dreze
Book DescriptionAn analysis of endemic deprivation in India and of the role of public action in addressing that problem. The analysis is based on a broad view of economic development, focusing on human well-being and 'social opportunity' rather than on the standard indicators of economic growth. India's success in reducing endemic deprivation since Independence has been quite limited. Recent diagnoses of this failure of policy have concentrated on the counterproductive role of government regulation, and on the need for economic incentives to accelerate the growth of the economy. This book argues that an assessment of India's failure to eliminate basic deprivations has to go beyond this limited focus, and to take note of the role played in that failure by inadequate public involvement in the provision of basic education, health care, social security, and related fields, Even the fostering of fast and participatory economic growth requires some basic social change, which is not addressed by liberalization and economic incentives. The authors also discuss the historical antecedents of these political and social neglects, including the distortion of policy priorities arising from inequalities of political power. Following on from this, the book considers the scope for public action to address these earlier biases and achieve a transformation of policy priorities. The introductory chapter presents the motivation, focus, and approach of the book. Chapter 2 discusses the respective roles of the market mechanism and government action in economic development and discusses the particular role of public involvement in the fields of health and education. In chapters 3 and 4, international comparisons of development experiences are brought to bear on the diagnosis of India's successes and failures. These two chapters also discuss the lessons to be learnt from the contrasting development experiences of different states within India, with particular attention to Kerala's outstanding success in social fields. Chapter 5 considers the role of public action and political organization in promoting social opportunities. Attention is drawn, in particular, to the part played by widespread illiteracy in suppressing that process and perpetuating social inequalities. The issue of basic education is further examined in chapter 6, which includes a critical assessment of public policy in this field. Chapter 7 discusses the specific problem on gender inequality, and the role of women's agency in the expansion of social opportunities for both women and men. The concluding chapter consolidates the argument and discusses the policy implication of the analyses presented. A statistical appendix presents a comparative picture of India and other developing countries, and also the comparative performance of different states within India.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780198290124
(225mm x 145mm x 23mm)
Imprint: Clarendon Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 4-Apr-1996
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Jean Dreze
Uncertain Glory, Paperback (March 2014)
After regaining independence in 1947, India immediately adopted a firmly democratic political system. This book presents an analysis not only of India's deprivations and inequalities, but also of the restraints on addressing them - and of the possibility of change through democratic practice.
India, Paperback (August 2002)
This book explores the role of public action in eliminating deprivation and expanding human freedoms in India. This fully revised edition includes three new chapters on health and the environment, the social costs of military expansion, and the challenges of democracy, plus an expanded statistical appendix.
Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze Omnibus, Hardback (February 1999)» View all books by Jean Dreze
This text comprises three works by two well-known economists. The trilogy discusses causes of hunger, the role public action can play in its alleviation and the Indian experience in this context. It provides a comprehensive, theoretical and empirical analysis of relevant developmental issue.
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