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South Asia

Chapter 4: Case studies on Bangladesh and Mozambique

The Institutional Diagnostic Project case study on Bangladesh and Mozambique is an attempt to explain the paradox of sustainability of the former and the disappointed hopes of the growth of the latter.

Institutional Diagnostic Synthesis (RA2)- Presentation

Outline of the presentation Objective, methodology and development of the project The synthesis volume and concluding chapters a) Identifying obstacles to development: economic perspective b) Identifying institutional obstacles: the role of politics c) Identifying institutional obstacles: state capacity and property…

Appraising institutional challenges in the early stages of development- Chapter 10: Conclusion

Two central lessons can be drawn from the foregoing analysis. First, many institutional failures are traceable to the way politics functions. Therefore, any diagnosis or understanding of the impediments to a country’s long-term development that overlooks the country’s political economy…

Chapter 9: Identifying institutional obstacles to structural transformation: state capacity and property rights

After having examined the role of politics (in last chapter) in spurring or slowing down structural transformation and development, we are now ready to probe the issue of state capacity. This will complete our discussion of the role of governance-related…

Chapter 8: Identifying institutional obstacles to structural transformation: the role of politics

In this chapter, the focus is on issues that involve politics. More specifically, we look at the role of political leadership and state autonomy in development. The institutions involved determine the quality of governance in a country, but they are…

Chapter 6: Taiwan’s development miracle

There are several reasons why development scholars should be interested in the case of Taiwan. As one author has written: ‘It once had a single dominant party following the Leninist model; it now has a competitive multiparty system. It was…

Chapter 5: South Korea in the early days of its takeoff

‘What would have been the conclusion of an institutional diagnostic of the development potential of South Korea conducted in the mid- or late-1970s, at a time when the country was still a low-income country, at roughly the same income level…

Chapter 3: Case studies on Benin and Tanzania

There are several reasons why Benin is an interesting country to study, and some of them have no doubt contributed to making it an aid darling for many donors. First, although it is made up of an extraordinarily varied mosaic…

Appraising institutional challenges in the early stages of development: Introduction to part 2

At the core of the institutional diagnostic project is the idea that we can gain more knowledge about the role of institutions by undertaking in-depth country case studies than by carrying out broad quantitative exercises based on a large sample…

Chapter 2: Methodological framework for an institutional diagnostic

The preceding chapter defined the objective of the institutional diagnostics of each particular country and made explicit the concepts and analytical principles that need to be mobilised in order to conduct such an exercise. By providing a short description of…

Chapter 1: Institutions and institutional change: concepts and theories

The ‘institutions matter’ slogan appears today as a fundamental truth about development. Widely shared by the development community, including international organisations, it goes with the idea that the benefits of both market operations and state interventions are significantly conditioned by…

Appraising institutional challenges in the early stages of development

If there is absolutely no doubt that institutions matter for development, and for development policies and strategies in the first place, the crucial issue is knowing how they matter. After all, impressive economic development achievements have been observed despite the…

Devolution under Autocracies: Evidence from Pakistan

Authoritarian regimes often direct the course of electoral politics in ways that allow them to concentrate and consolidate power (Geddes, 1999; Svolik, 2012; Gandhi and Przeworski, 2007; Gandhi, 2015). While a growing body of literature has devoted attention to studying…

The Threat of Adolescent Development from Covid-19 in rural Bangladesh

In developing countries with strongly patriarchal norms, the socio-economic opportunities and choices of adolescent girls and young women often lie in a contested area, subject to the influence of both traditional institutions and the modern state and its partners. While…

Community Forest Management: The Story behind a Success Story from Nepal

Since 1993, Nepal implemented one of the most ambitious and comprehensive program of decentralization of forest management in the world, widely considered as a success story in terms of participatory management of natural resources. Using quasi-experimental methods, we first quantify…

Devolution under Autocracies: Evidence from Pakistan

Authoritarian regimes often direct the course of electoral politics in ways that allow them to concentrate and consolidate power. This observation applies well to Pakistan and its three military regimes: Ayub, Zia, and Musharraf. The political reforms enacted by General…

Can Secular Media Create Religious Backlash? Evidence From Pakistan’s Media Liberalization- Working Paper

Islamic countries have increasingly been exposed to western culture, through the liberalization of their media markets and rise of transnational media networks. What is the consequence of this exposure on cultural and religious behavior, given potential clashes between western norms…

The Backlash Effects of Media Liberalization: Evidence from Pakistan

Over the past three decades, state control of media in Muslim countries has eroded rapidly, through the rise of multinational television networks such as Al Jazeera, the spread of radio services such as BBC World Service and Voice of America,…

Community Forestry Management: Mechanisms behind a success story in Nepal

Over the past 25 years, the government of Nepal implemented one of the most ambitious and comprehensive programs of decentralization of forest management in the world. This major institutional change resulted in the transfer of the management of almost 50%…

Voting Power and the Supply of News Media: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from India

In this paper, we investigate how media owners react to changes in the political importance of vote choices — voting power — in different areas. Whereas “one person, one vote” is often considered the guiding principle of democracies, there is…

In-group bias in the Indian Judiciary: Evidence from 5 million cases

We study judicial in-group bias in Indian criminal courts, collecting data on over 5 million criminal case records from 2010–2018. We exploit quasi-random assignment of cases to judges to examine whether defendant outcomes are affected by assignment to a judge…

The Promise of Machine Learning from the Courts of India

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) – adaptive computer programs that can perform functions typically associated with the human mind – offer new opportunities for improving the productivity of large-scale organizations. Recent advances in data collection, systems of aggregation,…

Updating the state: information acquisition costs and public benefit delivery

In a field experiment spanning the entirety of two Indian states, we randomized bureaucrats’ access to a mobile phone based e-management platform for India’s flagship workfare program. We randomized which levels of the administrative hierarchy received access to the app,…

Policy Brief: Do political dynasties hinder development? Evidence from Pakistan

While political dynasties are pervasive across developing countries we have limited knowledge of their impact on economic development. We probe this in a context where electoral politics is both competitive and clientelist. Leveraging novel databases on political genealogies and local…

Entrenched political dynasties and development under competitive clientelism: Evidence from Pakistan

In this paper, we estimate the impact of dynastic families on local development in Pakistan’s largest province, Punjab. Toward this purpose,we compile an original database on political genealogies, which includes information aboutthe personal and family characteristics of both elected representatives…

Policy brief: Clientelistic politics and pro poor targeting

Studies examining expenditure policies of local governments (panchayats) in India have found evidence of failure to target benefits to poor regions or households. This mis-targeting can be either in the form of diversion to local elites, or forms of political…

Working paper: Clientelistic politics and pro poor targeting: rules versus discretionary budgets

Past research has provided evidence of clientelistic politics in delivery of program benefits by local governments (gram panchayats (GPs)), and manipulation of GP pro- gram budgets by legislators and elected officials at upper tiers in West Bengal, India. Using household…

Who is in justice? Caste, Religion and Gender in the Courts of Bihar over a Decade

Abstract: Bihar is widely regarded as one of India’s poorest and most divided states. It has also been the site of many social movements that have left indelible marks on the state’s politics and identity. Little is currently known about…

Electoral importance and media consumption: quasi-experimental evidence and new data from India

Abstract: What are the determinants of news media consumption? In this paper, we investigate whether it is determined by political motives. We build a new panel dataset on Indian publications at the city level between 2002 and 2017. We exploit…

Can child marriage law change attitudes and behaviour? Experimental evidence from an information intervention in Bangladesh

The practice of child marriage is ubiquitous in developing countries, where one in three girls is married before the age of 18. Although most developing countries have a legal minimum age of marriage, in practice marriage age is determined by…

Asset ownership and female empowerment: evidence from a natural experiment in Pakistan

Abstract: In this study, we exploit a natural experiment to investigate the size and nature of the gender asset gap in Pakistan. In 2010, there was a massive flood, which affected nearly a fifth of the country, and caused a…

Information gaps and de jure legal rights: Evidence from Pakistan

In this paper, we study a large scale effort to improve the information environment in a key area of legal rights: women’s rights in marriage. The degree of freedom that women enjoy over key life choices such as whether, when…

Vulnerable Groups and the COVID-19: The Indian Case

The current unraveling COVID-19 pandemic poses severe challenges not only in the realm of health, but also for economic and social systems around the globe. It can exacerbate longstanding inequities between groups and leave marginalized groups in a vulnerable position;…

Thematic Insight: Modernizing tax collection

Developing, maintaining, and using tax records to boost revenue. Tax revenue funds the provision of public goods, but poor countries struggle to raise taxes. In fact, as shown in the figure above, low income countries (LICs) raise only half as much tax…

The Threat to Female Adolescent Development from Covid-19

In developing countries with strongly patriarchal norms, the socio-economic opportunities and choices of adolescent girls and young women often lie in a contested area, subject to the influence of both traditional institutions and the modern state and its partners. While…

The Power of Women’s Collective Action

For decades, women in India have been largely absent from public life and substantially under-represented in political institutions. As a country founded on the ideals of localized democracy, this has meant that the voices of roughly half of the population…

Religion, Politics, and Judicial Independence: Theory and Evidence

Abstract: Most enlightenment philosophers argued that the separation between Church and State would prevent capture of resources by one state religion. We formalize and test a theory that addresses a different danger. We demonstrate that a reduction in the separation…

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic – Chapter 1

An Institutional Diagnostic of Bangladesh: Introduction Chapter overview: Why an institutional diagnostic? Methodological approach to the Bangladesh institutional diagnostic and the organisation of this volume A brief overview of Bangladesh’s political history The difficult installation of democracy The era of…

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic – Chapter 11

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic Chapter 11: The Synthesis Chapter overview: Introduction Identifying institutional constraints in Bangladesh’s development A sketch of Bangladesh’s political history Successes and challenges of Bangladesh’s economic development Bangladesh’s institutional performance in global rankings Bangladesh’s institutional performance based on…

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic – Chapter 9

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic Chapter 9: Institutional challenges in land administration and management in Bangladesh Chapter Overview List of tables and figures Glossary Introduction Consequences of land scarcity and inefficient land management Overview of the land laws and policies in Bangladesh…

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic – Chapter 4

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic Chapter 4: The country institutional survey – experts’ opinions on institutions in Bangladesh Chapter Overview List of tables and figures Introduction The CIS in Bangladesh The survey: design of the questionnaire Execution of the survey Critical institutional…

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic – Chapter 8

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic Chapter 8: Institutional challenges in public spending: the case of primary education Chapter overview: List of figures Introduction The importance of education (primary education) for development in Bangladesh The primary education sector in Bangladesh: basic performance Challenges…

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic – Chapter 10

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic Chapter 10: Political economy analysis of the role of the judiciary in land dispossession litigation in Bangladesh Chapter Overview Table of contents List of tables and figures List of abbreviations Glossary Introduction The effectiveness of the judiciary…

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic – Chapter 7

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic Chapter 7: Institutional dimensions of tax reforms in Bangladesh Chapter Overview List of tables and figures Development context The public resource mobilisation challenge Main objectives, methodology, and approach of the chapter Tax mobilisation issues in developing countries:…

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic – Chapter 6

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic Chapter 6: Political economy of private bank governance in Bangladesh Chapter Overview List of tables, figures, and boxes Introduction Review of literature on the banking sector of Bangladesh Banking sector in Bangladesh: Performance and challenges Structure of…

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic – Chapter 5

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic Chapter 5: Informal institutions, the RMG sector, and the present challenge of export diversification in Bangladesh Chapter Overview List of tables, figures, and boxes Introduction Review of the literature on export diversification Overview of the RMG and…

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic – Chapter 3

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic Chapter 3: A cross-country comparative analysis of institutional indicators: Where does Bangladesh stand? Chapter Overview List of tables and figures Introduction Constructing synthetic institutional indices Bangladesh’s position in the global ranking of synthetic institutional indices How does…

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic – Chapter 2

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic Chapter 2: Bangladesh’s Development: Achievements and Challenges Chapter Overview: List of tables and figures Introduction Sources of growth and possible limitations of the present development regime  Aggregate growth Structural transformation Remittances and foreign direct investment Infrastructure Bangladesh…

Research Insight: Can child marriage law change attitudes and behaviour? (Bangladesh)

Experimental Evidence from an Information Intervention in Bangladesh. As part of an EDI case study on early marriage in Bangladesh, we conducted a randomised information intervention in 80 villages following a recent change in child marriage law in the country….

Red Tape? The Revenue Impact of the VAT Filing Thresholds

Value-added tax systems across the world are afflicted with size-dependent regulations.The benefit of such regulations to the tax authority is unclear. In this paper, we use an administrative dataset from the state of Delhi in India to first show that…

Women’s Promotions and Intra-Household Bargaining: Evidence from Bangladesh

This paper investigates how women’s promotions in the workplace affect bargaining in the household. I exploit the design of a promotion programme for women in 27 Bangladeshi garment factories, by comparing women who were quasi-randomly selected for the programme to…

Research Insight: Asset ownership and female empowerment: Evidence from a natural experiment in Pakistan

The literature shows that women do not have an equal share in wealth as men, even within the same household, where large inequalities exist in ownership of land and productive assets. Women’s increased control of resources has been shown to…

Learning What to Look For: Hard Measures of Soft Skills in Promotion

Abstract: We report the results of a field experiment designed to promote women to supervisory positions in Bangladesh’s garment factories, with which participating factories have little prior experience. We show that formal diagnostic tests lead factories to choose candidates that…

Why does judicial independence matter?

Judicial independence from state bureaucracies is considered critical for the stability of institutions and for ensuring the rule of law. As such, judicial independence is crucially important for understanding the development process. In this video Dr Sultan Mehmood (University of…

How does institutional reform affect social norms around marriage and women’s rights?

Zaki Wahhaj (Member, Advisory Group – Family Gender Conflict), Francois Bourguignon (Paris School of Economics, Research Director EDI), and Kate Vyborny (Duke University) discuss the unintended effects of new laws on the legal age of marriage in rural Bangladesh, and…

Child marriage law, gender norms and marriage customs (Bangladesh)

Abstract: The negative welfare consequences of child marriage are well established, but the phenomenon is still ubiquitous in developing countries, where one in three girls is married before the age of 18. Although most countries have a legal minimum age of marriage…

Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic – An overview

The Bangladesh Institutional Diagnostic was officially started in September 2018. It is led by Selim Raihan, the Executive Director of the South Asian Network for Economic Modelling (SANEM), together with François Bourguignon, Research Director of the Economic Development and Institutions…

Research Insight: Child marriage law, gender norms and marriage customs

This EDI Research Insight provides a summary of our initial findings from an EDI case study in Bangladesh, which was designed to test the hypothesis that formal laws can influence informal social norms and practices related to child marriage. To…

Policy Brief: Resource transfers to local governments (West Bengal)

This EDI Policy Brief provides an accessible summary of key insights and findings from research for a case study on “Discretion versus rule-based budgeting and assignment in Indian governments“. Clientelism and vote buying are commonly mentioned symptoms of poor governance in…

Resource transfers to local governments (West Bengal)

This EDI Working Paper arises from the research undertaken for a case study on “Discretion versus rule-based budgeting and assignment in Indian governments“. The study shows how political support of household heads respond to receipt of different private and public good…

Policy Brief: Community origins of industrial entrepreneurship

This EDI Policy Brief provides an accessible summary of key insights and findings that are presented in the EDI Working Paper on “Community Origins of Industrial Entrepreneurship in Pre-Independence India.” It derives from a case study on the role community networks in…

Community Origins of Industrial Entrepreneurship in Pre-Independence India

This EDI Working Paper derives from research undertaken in the Case Study on ‘Community networks and industrial entrepreneurship in India and China’ by Dilip Mookherjee et al. The authors argue that community networks played an important role in the emergence of…

Event: “Sharing Solutions” – Improving management and accountability for public service delivery

Charity Moore from the Harvard Kennedy School presents research from a project on “USing digital trails to improve management and accountability for public service delivery in India.” Service delivery in development settings in hierarchical in nature, which can lead to…

Event: “Sharing Solutions” – Institutional reform and de facto women’s rights

Kate Vyborny presents her research on a project that explores how women in Pakistan can get access to the rights that they legally have. She looks particularly at the legal rights that are understood and established around marriage contracts. This…

Event: “Sharing Solutions” – Catching fraudulent firms in India

Shekhar Mittal, of the University of California at Berkeley, presents his research on the Value Added Tax (VAT) system in India. A key development concern is how to improve tax collections, which are central to building state capacity. Mittal examines…

Institutional reform and de facto women’s rights

A presentation by Erica Field and Kate Vyborny This presentation was part of the convening event hosted by CEGA at the University of California, Berkeley, in August 2018. Read a summary of the event.

What is bogus: Catching fraudulent firms in India

A presentation by Aprajit Mahajan (UC Berkeley), Shekhar Mittal (UC Berkeley) and Ofir Reich (formerly CEGA) This presentation was part of the convening event hosted by CEGA at the University of California, Berkeley, in August 2018. Read a summary of…

Improving management and accountability for public service delivery

“Using digital trails to improve management and accountability for public service delivery (India)” A presentation by Charity Moore, Harvard Kennedy School This presentation was part of the convening event hosted by CEGA at the University of California, Berkeley, in August…

Policy Brief: Female Employment and Aspirations for Children

Female Employment and Aspirations for Children: Evidence from Bangladesh’s Garment Industry This EDI Policy Brief provides insight into gender roles and aspirations for children among a sample of families involved with the Bangladeshi garment industry. It is based upon an…

Institutions and Development: An Overview of Case Studies

Institutions are commonly defined as the rules of the game that societies play which in shared understanding act as constraints on and guidelines for economic performance. This paper provides an overview of case studies from the two largest developing countries,…

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