Topics in the Political Economy of Contemporary South Asia

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Economics

Module overview

The aim of this course is to give a broad analytical and chronological outline of the economic development of India and Pakistan from Independence to the current period. Topics covered include: the state, planning and industrialisation; radicalism and reform; democracy, authoritarianism and development; and liberalisation.



153400123 OR 153400130 OR 153400124

(Macroeconomic Analysis OR Microeconomic Analysis OR Issues in Development Economics)

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

LO1.    Discuss and compare the South Asian economies at the level of economic sectors and their performance in the global economy.

LO2.    Analyse the impact of rent and rent-seeking in post-colonial economic development and the role of the state.

LO3.    Summarise the impact of patron-client relationship on economic perforamance, agriculture, land reform and technical change.


Two hour lecture and one hour seminar, each week.

Scope and syllabus

the role of the state in post-colonial economic development and the contemporary concern with good governance and the investment climate;

the impact of patron-client relationships on economic performance,

agriculture and the agrarian question, including land reform and technical change;

industrialisation and the industrial sector including the regulatory framework,

the debate on growth, stagnation and restructuring,

the role of industrial policy before and after liberalization and growth after liberalization.

Method of assessment

One written exam (two hours), worth 70% of the total mark for the module.

One essay (2,500 words), worth 30% of the total mark for the module, due term 2.

Suggested reading

Core Reading:

Bardhan, P (1994) The Political Economy of Development in India, Oxford University Press.

Corbridge, S and J.Harriss (2000), Reinventing India: Liberalisation, Hindu Nationalism and Popular Democracy, Polity Press

T. J. Byres, T.J (1999), The Indian Economy: Major Debates since Independence, Oxford University Press.

Kohli, A (1990), ‘Democracy and Discontent: India’s growing Crisis of Governability’, Cambridge University Press.

Harriss-White, B (2003), ‘India Working’ Cambridge University Press.

Panagariya, A (2008), ‘India: The Emerging Giant’, Oxford University Press

Lieven, A (2011), ‘Pakistan: A Hard Country’, Allen Lane.

Zaidi, S.A (2005), ‘Issues in Pakistan’s Economy’ Oxford University Press.

Additional Reading:

K.N. Raj, 1973. ‘The Politics and Economics of Intermediate Regimes,’ Economic and Political Weekly, vol. VIII, no. 27, July 7.

Khan, M.H. 2009. ‘Corruption and Governance in South Asia’ in South Asia 2009, available online.

Banerjee, Abhijit and Lakshmi Iyer 2005. The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India, American Economic Review 95 (4): 1190-1213.

Besley, Timothy and Robin Burgess. 2000. Land reform, poverty reduction, and growth: evidence from India. The Quarterly Journal of Economics 115(2): 389-430. Available on JSTOR

Ghatak, Maitreesh and Roy, Sanchari 2007. Land Reform and Agricultural Productivity in India: A Review of the Evidence, Oxford Review of Economic Policy Volume 23 No. 2 pp. 251-69.

Henry Bernstein, 2009. ‘V.I. Lenin and A.V. Chayanov: Looking Back, Looking Forward,’ Journal of Peasant Studies 36 (1): 55-81.

Keith Griffin, Azizur Rahman Khan and Amy Ickowitz, 2002. Poverty and the Distribution of Land, Journal of Agrarian Change Volume 2 No. 3 July: 279-330.

Mushtaq Khan, 2004. Power, Property Rights and the Issue of Land Reform: A General Case Illustrated with Reference to Bangladesh, Journal of Agrarian Change January and April 4 (1-2): 73-106.

Chand, R S.S.Raju and L.M.Pandey (2007), ‘Growth Crisis in Agriculture: Severity and Options at National and State Levels’, Economic and Political Weekly, June 30th, p2528-2533.

Singh, N (2007), ‘Services-Led Industrialisation in India: Assessment and Lessons’, ch. 2-3 in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Industrial Development for the 21st Century: Sustainable Development Perspectives, New York: United Nations.

D’Costa, A.P (2003), ‘Uneven and Combined Development: Understanding India’s Software Exports’, World Development, 31:1, p211-226.

Rodrik, Dani. (2015) ‘ Premature De-industrialisation ’.

Amirapu, A and A. Subramaniam (2015) Manufacturing or Services? An Indian Illustration of a Development Dilemma. Center for Global Development Working Paper.

Bardhan, P (2012) Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay: Assessing the Economic Rise of China and India, Princeton University Press ,

Burki, S (2008). Industrial Policy: Domestic Challenges, Global Imperatives and Pakistan’s Choices. Lahore Journal of Economics. September 2008.

Badri Narayanan G. and Pankaj Vashisht 2008. Determinants of Competitiveness of the Indian Auto Industry .

McKinsey and Company (2015). India Pharma 2020. Download report at

Taslim, M and M. Haque (2015) The Export Performance of Bangladesh, Global Recession and After . International Growth Center Working Paper.

Asian Development Bank (2014) Inequality in Asia and the Pacific. Introduction, Chapter 1 and Chapter 11 .

Drèze, J  and A. Sen. (2013). An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions. London: Allen Lane. (Chapters 1 ,7 and 8).

UNDP (2016) Multidimensional Poverty in Pakistan .

Kabeer, N (2015) Gender, poverty, and inequality: a brief history of feminist contributions in the field of international development. Gender and Development, Vol 23, 2.

Agarwal, Bina (2016) Gender Challenges. Oxford University Press. Vol 1, 2 and 3.

In Vol 1 Chapter  –‘Women, Poverty, and Agricultural Growth in India’.

World Economic Forum. Global Gender Gap Report Pakistan 2016

Stewart, F. (2011) Horizontal Inequalities as a Cause of Conflict .

Abeyratne, S. 2004. Economic roots of political conflict: The case of Sri Lanka. World Economy, 27(8).

Macours, K (2011) Increasing Inequality and Civil Conflict in  Nepal. Oxford Economic Papers, Vol 63, No 1.


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