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History, Social Divisions, and Public Goods in Rural India

Author

Listed:
  • Abhijit Banerjee

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology,)

  • Lakshmi Iyer

    (Harvard Business School,)

  • Rohini Somanathan

    (University of Michigan,)

Abstract

We examine the influence of three historically important sources of social divisions on the availability of public goods in rural India: colonial power, landowner-peasant relations as determined by the land tenure system and social fragmentation based on the Hindu caste system and the presence of sizable religious minorities. Using data on public goods from 1991, we find that regions that were under British colonial power in the pre-independence period and those where agrarian power was concentrated in the hands of landlords have lower access to these goods as do areas with high levels of social fragmentation. (JEL: H41, P16) Copyright (c) 2005 The European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer & Rohini Somanathan, 2005. "History, Social Divisions, and Public Goods in Rural India," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 639-647, 04/05.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:3:y:2005:i:2-3:p:639-647
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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