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Development writ small

O’Keeffe, Thomas (2018) Development writ small. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis is concerned with using micro-level data to examine important features of the process of development which occur on a much larger scale. Using a uniquely long and detailed dataset for a single village in India, allied with data from other sources, we explore what development at the level of a village can tell us about development at the level of a state or country. In the first chapter we introduce the village setting of this thesis - Palanpur, describe the data, and document the broad features of development experienced by the village over the course of 60 years. We focus on changes in employment, education, migration within the village - and relate these to the development of India or other areas where appropriate. The overriding picture is one of a village which has been touched by the outside world. The Green revolution initiated sustained growth in agricultural productivity. Large numbers have moved out of subsistence agriculture into non-agricultural pursuits, many of these outside the village. There have been substantial increases in education, migration, and income levels - similar in magnitude to other areas of India. The second chapter investigates how structural transformation, the reallocation of economic activity from agriculture to manufacturing and services, is experienced for economic entities smaller than countries. Despite a vast macroeconomic literature concerning structural transformation for countries along their development path there is little evidence on the nature of structural transformation at a more microeconomic level. Firstly, we document the stylised facts of structural transformation from the empirical macroeconomic literature. Secondly, we show that these stylised facts are consistent with India’s development experience over more than 100 years. We then proceed to document how these empirical facts map onto progressively smaller geographic areas within India. Finally we demonstrate that these features of structural transformation hold true even at the level of a single village in India. The pattern of sectoral reallocation in terms of both income and employment shares is strikingly similar and consistent with the extant stylised facts at all levels. This result has important implications for the way we should think about the complementarity of agricultural and non-agricultural development. The third chapter explores the role of employment networks within the process of development in rural India. The relevant networks we examine are caste and extended family networks, called dynasties. We first establish that there exist job networks in nonagricultural employment for individuals working outside the village. These networks have large effects, and these effects are larger for extended family networks. We then demonstrate that these job networks exhibit competition from fellow network members. As a placebo test we confirm smaller or non-existent network effects for another type of employment believed to be less prone to job referral networks. The second part of this chapter then tests if these dynasty network effects observed for outside employment are consistent with a model of labour market network dynamics. The data are consistent with the model and display both a negative competition effect and a positive information effect. Dynasty network cohorts who arrive in the labour market prior to workers have a positive effect on their employment prospects but those who arrive at the same time have a negative impact. The chapter finishes with some evidence on the potential long run implications of these networks.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Thomas William O’Keeffe
Uncontrolled Keywords: urban history, urban forms, affordances, politics, political ideas, ideology, history, nationalism, intellectual history, architecture, planning, modernity, philosophy, Budapest, Vienna, Venice
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > Economics
Supervisor: Burgess, Robin

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