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Development in Multiple Dimensions: Social Power and Regional Policy in India
Why do some states provide infrastructure and social services to their citizens, and others do not? In Development in Multiple Dimensions, Alexander Lee examines the origins of success and failure in the public services of developing countries. Comparing states within India, this study examines how elites either control, or are shut out of, policy decisions and how the interests of these elites influence public policy. He shows that social inequalities are not single but multiple, creating groups of competing elites with divergent policy interests. Since the power of these elites varies, states do not necessarily focus on the same priorities: some focus on infrastructure, others on social services, and still others on both or neither. The author develops his ideas through quantitative comparisons and case studies focusing on four northern Indian states: Gujarat, West Bengal, Bihar, and Himachal Pradesh, each of which represents different types of political economy and has a different set of powerful caste groups. The evidence indicates that regional variation in India is a consequence of social differences, and the impact of these differences on carefully considered distributional strategies, rather than differences in ideology, geography, or institutions.