Title

Welfare populism and the rural poor: Comparing microcredit provision in India

Date of Award

2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science

Advisor(s)

Mitchell Orenstein

Keywords

Welfare populism, Rural poor, Microcredit, India, Poverty

Subject Categories

Political Science | Public Administration | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

The dissertation is a comparative case study of a microcredit program in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in India. Field research was conducted for 17 months in nine villages located along contiguous borders of the three states. The study argues that populism, as a strategy of political mobilization, impacts the delivery of rural poverty programs. Different types of populisms - such as symbolic, inclusive or competitive - caused variations in who participated in the development program and how the benefits of participation were distributed. The study shows that regime type analysis has to be disaggregated to account for factors like different mobilization strategies under similar regimes. It also highlights the role that structures of party competition within which governments function impacts the implementation of programs.

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