Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Resource Economics

Dissertation of Ulrike Müller

Pro-poor Service Delivery in India – A Behavioral Economics Perspective

Start: November 07
End: April 13

A major knowledge gap exists with regard to whether and how the devolution of power to local governments keeps its promise to give voice to the rural poor and to improve their welfare through better service delivery. This dissertation project employs a behavioral economics framework in order to examine the microfoundations of local governance mechanisms which guide pro-poor and gender-sensitive service provision in India. A political economy approach identifies factors which have led to a successful implementation of decentralization reforms at the village level. The study is conducted in two contrasting federal states of India, namely Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Besides qualitative case studies, we run a set of experimental games in order to model the social preferences, such as fairness and reciprocity, of local actors. We expect that cooperation and solidarity behavior in rural service delivery arrangements depend strongly on different culture-specific norms resulting from opposing socio-economic histories in the two parts of India.

Researcher: Müller, Ulrike

Cooperation Partners: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, D.C.

Advisors: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Konrad Hagedorn

Funding: Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ), Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD)

Publications and Presentations: see