Himanshu H., Lanjouw P., Stern N. (2018) How Lives Change: Palanpur, India, and Development Economics. Oxford University Press.


Development economics is about understanding how and why lives change. “How Lives Change: Palanpur, India, and Development Economics” studies a single village in a crucially important country to illuminate the drivers of these changes, why some people do better or worse than others, and what influences mobility and inequality. How Lives Change draws on seven decades of detailed data collection by a team of dedicated development economists to describe the evolution of Palanpur’s economy, its society, and its politics. The emerging story of integration of the village economy with the outside world is placed against the backdrop of a rapidly transforming India and, in turn, helps to understand the transformation. It puts development economics into practice to assess its performance and potential in a unique and powerful way to show how the development of one village since India’s independence can be set in the context of the entire country’s story.


Part I: Foundations
1: The Study of Villages and the Understanding of Development: Building the Evidence
2: Palanpur: The Village through Seven Decades
3: India and Palanpur: A Story of Change
4: Theory and India
Part II: Economy
5: Changing Activities, Changing Markets: Agriculture
6: Tenancy in Palanpur
7: Changing Activities, Changing Markets: Beyond Agriculture
8: Poverty, Inequality, and Mobility in Palanpur
Part III: Society
9: Human Development: Education, Health, Public Services
10: Women: Possibilities and Constraints
11: Society and Politics: Inertia and Change
Part IV: Reflections
12: Future Prospects
13: Lessons for India, Policy, and the Economics of Development

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