The Regional Roots of Developmental Politics in India

The Regional Roots of Developmental Politics in India

A Divided Leviathan
Aseema Sinha
Distribution: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
Publication date: 04/14/2005
Format: Paperback 11 figures, 4 maps, 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-21681-6
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Winner Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences, American Institute of Indian Studies (2005)

India is widely regarded as the most celebrated case of a "failed" developmental state, seemingly the exception that belies the prediction of a triumphant Asian century. Its central political and economic institutions have been variously characterized as both "soft" and "strong"—at once weak, predatory, and interventionist. Aseema Sinha presents an innovative model that questions conventional views of economic development by showing that the Indian state is a divided leviathan: its developmental failure is the combined product of central-local interactions and political choices by regional elites. To develop this disaggregated model, she examines three regional states with sharply divergent development trajectories: Gujarat, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu. Drawing on recent work in comparative political economy, the theory of nested games, incentive theory, and an ethnographic analysis of business actors, this study directs analytical attention at the creation of micro-institutions at the subnational level, explores the role of provinces in shaping investment flows, and considers the role of federalism as a mediating institution shaping the vertical strategies of provinces. A comparative chapter applies the model to data from China, Brazil, Russia, and the former Soviet Union.

Author Bio

Aseema Sinha is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2004-05, she will be a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables, Figures, and Maps
A Note on Terminology
List of Abbreviations
Part One. Introduction and Theoretical Framework
1. The Puzzle of Developmental Failure and Success
The Puzzle of India's Developmental State
Unpacking Developmental States: A Multilevel Framework
Applying the Framework to India
Globalization in India (1991<N>2004)
Infranational Comparisons and Comparative Politics
Plan of the Book
2. A Theory of Polycentric Hierarchy
India and Comparative Politics
A Theory of a Multilevel Hierarchy: Territory, Divided Government, and Nested Games
Business Responses and Investor Behavior in a Dirigiste but Multilevel State
Design of Study: Selection of Cases
Part Two. National-Level Analysis
3. Disaggregating the Central State
Regional Variation in Large-Scale Investment
A Competing Political Explanation: Central Discrimination
An Alternative Institutionalist Explanation: The Central State Designed to Fail
Political Economy of the Divided State
Liberalization and the Central State in India
Part Three. Subnational Variation Mapped
4. Regional Strategies toward the Dirigiste State
Bureaucratic Developmentalism in Gujarat
West Bengal: The Strategy of Partisan Confrontation
Mixed Vertical Strategy in Tamil Nadu: Anti-Center Mobilization (1967<N>77) and Opportunistic Alliance Formation (1980s)
The Phase of Anti-Center Strategy
Alliance Formation and Opportunistic Bargaining with the Center
Vertical Interactions in Pre-1991 India
Vertical Interactions in Post-1991 India
5. The Subnational State as a Developmental Actor
Why Are Regional Institutions Important, and How Do They Matter?
Developmental Strategies in Indian Regional States
Institutional Capacities in India's Regions
Sticky Institutions in West Bengal, Gujarat, and Tam