India and the World Bank: The Politics of Aid and Influence

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Anthem Press, 2011 - Business & Economics - 306 pages
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'The World Bank needs India more than India needs it.' So goes an emerging consensus on both sides of the relationship between the Bank and its largest borrower. This book analyzes the politics of aid and influence, explaining but also challenging this insider view, while at the same time arguing against the popular perception that the Bank imposes its neoliberal agenda on a retreating Indian state. The Bank, struggling to remain relevant amid India's recent rapid growth and expanding access to private capital, has been caught up in a complex federal politics of economic reform and development. India's central government - far from being in retreat - has been the main driver of dramatic changes in the Bank's assistance strategy, leading toward a focus at the sub-national state level. Yet the closer the Bank's engagement with India's States, the more apparent their political, institutional, and developmental differences become. The Bank has vacillated between a 'focus States' strategy to encourage successfully reforming States, and a 'lagging States' strategy to give special assistance to those left behind by recent growth. The Indian government itself has encouraged this uncertainty, as its interests have evolved from a political strategy of selective support to reformers, to a renewed concern for regional inequalities. This timely study will be of interest to scholars, development practitioners, and engaged observers of globalization and the nation-state.


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About the author (2011)

Jason A. Kirk completed his PhD in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005. He also holds a BA with Distinction in Journalism & Mass Communication (photojournalism concentration) and International Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He currently works as Assistant Professor of Political Science at Elon University, North Carolina, and previously taught at Virginia Military Institute. His research and teaching interests lie in comparative politics and international relations, with a special focus on contemporary India. He has travelled frequently to India over the past thirteen years for study and research, including an intensive language program in order to learn Hindi. His recent publications include ‘Indian-Americans and the U.S.-India Nuclear Agreement: Consolidation of an Ethnic Lobby?’, printed in the journal ‘Foreign Policy Analysis’, and ‘Economic Reform, Federal Politics, and External Assistance: Understanding New Delhi’s Perspective on the World Bank’s State-level Loans’ in Rahul Mukherji, ed., ‘India’s Economic Transition: The Politics of Reforms’ (Oxford University Press, 2007).

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