The village of Palanpur, Moradabad District, Uttar Pradesh, India has been the subject of close study by economists since the late1950s.
The Palanpur story helps inform the wider issues around growth and development in India across the last six decades. It has the unique advantage of being an independent project with coverage across several decades. The issues which it raises and studies in detail of rural growth and poverty in relation to national growth are constant themes for other countries and the overall study of development. It provides a special opportunity to examine both how the growth and development of a country as a whole influences lives and livelihoods in one village and how forces and mechanisms thought to be at work in the economy as a whole might actually be present and important, is one example of a basic building block for the economy of the village.
The last six decades cover extraordinary change in India including Zamindari abolition, the green revolution, rising education, changing economic, social and demographic structures, a transformation in communications, more rapid growth (particularly since the early 2000s), and a substantially altered governance landscape in which improvements in access to information and employment guarantee the aim to strengthen civic participation and accountability of public administrators. Understanding the relationship between overall growth and development and the rural economy and society is at the heart of policy discussion, particularly for poverty, in many or most developing countries, and the debate in India is particularly intense.
The sixth round of the study is ongoing under the overall direction of Nicholas Stern. Ruth Kattumuri is a programme co-ordinator and a principal investigator. The study involves close collaboration with researchers in India with Himanshu, Fellow at the Centre for Sciences and Humanities (CSH) in New Delhi, being the lead collaborator in India. Peter Lanjouw, formerly with the World Bank, is a principal investigator. Jean Dreze is among the advisors for this programme.
The first round of analyses are presented as nine analytical papers in India’s Economic “Revolution”: A Perspective from Six Decades of Economic Development in Palanpur, A North Indian Village. Utilising the data from the current phase of the study, and the historical data, six main research themes have been identified - Poverty, Inequality and Mobility; Income Diversification, Outside Jobs and Migration; Labour, Land and Agriculture; Health, Nutrition, Education and Demography; Gender; Politics, Institutions and Public Action.
This work is supported by a grant from the Department for International Development (DfID) to whom we are grateful.