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We-ness and Welfare: A Longitudinal Analysis of Social Development in Kerala, India

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  • Singh, Prerna
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    Abstract

    Summary This paper challenges the conventional wisdom that ethnic diversity negatively influences public goods provision through a longitudinal study of the Indian state of Kerala, which has attained exceptional levels of social development despite high fragmentation along religious and caste lines. This paper argues that it is not objective diversity but a subjective sense of "we-ness," which is the key determinant of the level of public goods provision and social development. A historical analysis of Kerala illustrates how a cohesive subnational community generates progressive social policy as well as societal monitoring of schools and clinics, which together give rise to relatively high levels of education and health outcomes.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VC6-51PR0N3-1/2/77f04105532d1de4246f2b153def898b
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 282-293

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:2:p:282-293

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

    Related research

    Keywords: ethnicity subnationalism public goods provision social development South Asia Kerala;

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    1. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
    2. Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio, 2002. "Fractionalization," Research Papers 1744, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    3. Miguel, Edward & Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2005. "Ethnic diversity, social sanctions, and public goods in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2325-2368, December.
    4. Dreze, Jean & Sen, Amartya, 2002. "India: Development and Participation," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780199257492.
    5. Heller, Patrick, 1996. "Social capital as a product of class mobilization and state intervention: Industrial workers in Kerala, India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1055-1071, June.
    6. Baland, Jean-Marie & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1998. "Wealth Inequality and Efficiency in the Commons, Part II: The Regulated Case," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(1), pages 1-22, January.
    7. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
    8. Dayton-Johnson, Jeff, 2000. "Determinants of collective action on the local commons: a model with evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 181-208, June.
    9. Banerjee, Abhijit & Somanathan, Rohini, 2007. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 287-314, March.
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