[Workshop] CSH-CPR on “City-size Distribution in a Quasi-open Economy: The Indian Evidence” by Om Prakash Mathur


Event Details


Date: Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Time: 3.45 p.m.

Venue: Conference Hall, Centre for Policy Research, Dharma Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021

Is city-size distribution sensitive to the nature of the economic system? Does city-size distribution change when an economy characterized by a command-control mode transits to one which is open or substantially open? The literature discuses two principal forms of city-size distributions: (i) the Zipf’s Law – distributions according to rank-size rule and (ii) the primate city form where one city dominates and attracts much of the development. The former is associated with the relatively developed countries; the latter is a characteristic of developing and small countries. There are numerous examples of the latter where capital cities alone account for 35-50 percent of national GDP.

The presentation will compare the 1991 city-size distributions, when India was in a command-control mode, with the 2011 city-size distributions when India had done away with much of the regulation and control. This is important given that most countries, including India, reveal policy preferences for different sizes of cities. For example, India, in the mid 1970s, undertook the Integrated Development Small and Medium Towns Scheme based on the argument that small/medium cities were handicapped on account of poor infrastructure; and in 2005, it launched the JNNURM which focused on large and capital cities, arguing that these were central to growth. The purpose of this presentation is to suggest that policy preferences for size classes of cities can be “informed exercises”, using strong analytical frameworks.

Om Prakash Mathur, currently with the Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, is one of India’s most distinguished urban researchers. He was previously Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs, New Delhi and has held positions with the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, the Planning Commission, Government of India, United Nations Centre for Regional Development, Nagoya, Japan and the Government of Iran. Recently he was a member of the Prime Minister’s National Review Committee on Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, the JNNURM Technical Advisory Group, the High-Powered Expert Committee on Urban Infrastructure Investment Requirements and the Advisory Group of Experts on Decentralization (AGRED), of UN-Habitat. He serves on the editorial board of many important journals and has numerous publications.

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