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Showing posts from November, 2013

Price Information: Leading to Roads Less taken

For many of India’s 850 million rural inhabitants, 40 per cent of whom live in poverty, delivering agricultural output in a timely manner is a significant challenge. Poor infrastructure, lack of scale  economies (70 per cent of landholdings are less than one hectare, or 2.5 acres), and costly transportation means smallholders routinely sell their output to traders. However, this potentially efficient division of labour suffers from limited competition among these middlemen, who are able to exploit their bargaining power to extract a surplus. On the other hand, farmers who sell their produce directly to end consumers face difficult timing and/or locational decisions, uncertainty about prevailing market prices and an inability to visit every market every day.

CMF's “Increasing rural incomes by expanding access to agricultural price information” in Karnataka intends to rigorously evaluate the “success or failure” of Fasal (a cell-phone based service that provides current price informa…

“Development as Freedom” - Amartya Sen’s Grand Reconception of Development

I believe Amartya Sen’s famous Book, “Development as Freedom” has contributed to setting a whole new direction on the basis of which policy can be formulated and this is the primary criterion on which his work in this area needs to be studied and  assessed. The concept of 'Development as Freedom' is really a culmination of Sen’s capability approach which he had developed earlier. This line of thinking in development is also manifested in the approach of developing the UN Human Development Index which was formulated by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and Professor Amartya Sen.
Sen has developed “an alternative approach to evaluation that focuses directly on freedom, seen in the form of individual capabilities to do things that a person has reason to value” (Sen 2000, 56). Sen emphasises this distinction with the traditional approach when he remarks that “the discipline of economics has tended to move away from focussing on the value of freedoms to that of utilities, incomes an…