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India: Economic Development and Social Opportunity


  • Dreze, Jean

    (Delhi School of Economics)

  • Sen, Amartya

    (Trinity College, Cambridge)


This book presents analysis of endemic deprivation in India and the role of public action in addressing the problem. The analysis is based on a broad view of economic development, focusing on human well-being and 'social opportunity' rather than the standard indicators of economic growth. India's success in reducing deprivation since Independence has been 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 economy. Professors Dreze and Sen argue 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. ` ... a fine account of India's achievements and failures ... written throughout in a fine style ... it will be a starting-point of subsequent discussions on social life in India.' Partha Dasgupta, Times Higher Education Supplement

Suggested Citation

  • Dreze, Jean & Sen, Amartya, 1999. "India: Economic Development and Social Opportunity," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198295280.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780198295280

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    Cited by:

    1. Klasen, Stephan & Villalobos, Carlos, 2020. "Diverging identification of the poor: A non-random process. Chile 1992–2017," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).
    2. James Foster, Christopher Handy, 2008. "External Capabilities," OPHI Working Papers 8, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    3. Sabina Alkire, 2007. "The Missing Dimensions of Poverty Data: An Introduction," OPHI Working Papers 0, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    4. Kartik Misra, 2019. "Accumulation by Dispossession and Electoral Democracies : An Analysis of Land Acquisition for Special Economic Zones in India," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2019-16, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    5. Badar Alam Iqbal & Mohd Nayyer Rahman & Munir Hasan, 2019. "Social Indicators: A Comparison Among Selected Countries," Journal of Development Policy and Practice, , vol. 4(2), pages 123-144, July.
    6. Suman Ghosh & Alexander Karaivanov & Mandar Oak, 2007. "A Case for Bundling Public Goods Contributions," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 9(3), pages 425-449, June.
    7. Ghosh, Suman & Karaivanov, Alexander, 2007. "Can a raise in your wage make you worse off? A public goods perspective," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 551-571, September.
    8. Naresh Kumar & Ritu Rani, 2019. "Regional Disparities in Social Development: Evidence from States and Union Territories of India," South Asian Survey, , vol. 26(1), pages 1-27, March.
    9. Kartik Misra, 2019. "No Employment without Participation : An Evaluation of India's Employment Program in Eastern Uttar Pradesh," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2019-13, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    10. Pavitra Dhamija, 2020. "Economic Development and South Africa: 25 Years Analysis (1994 to 2019)," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 88(3), pages 298-322, September.
    11. Abebe Shimeles & Audrey Verdier†Chouchane, 2016. "The Key Role of Education in Reducing Poverty in South Sudan," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 28(S2), pages 162-176, October.
    12. Roland Pongou, 2020. "Is Excess (Fe)Male Mortality Caused by the Prenatal Environment, Child Biology, or Parental Discrimination? New Evidence from Male-Female Twins," Working Papers 2008E Classification-I15,, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
    13. Vani Borooah, 2000. "The Welfare of Children in Central India: Econometric Analysis and Policy Simulation," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(3), pages 263-287.
    14. Managi, Shunsuke & Jimichi, Masayuki & Saka, Chika, 2021. "Human capital development: Lessons from global corporate data," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 268-275.
    15. Li, Manlin, 2015. "Exploring the impact of New Resettlement Area’s on the well-being of local residents: a case study in Chongqing, China," OSF Preprints ht465, Center for Open Science.
    16. Swami, Madhubala, 2016. "A study of performance of public sector banks in Thane city under the Prime Minister's Jan Dhan Yojana," MPRA Paper 98682, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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