Why The Southern States Are Ahead
Kham Khan Suan Hausing
Sage Publications, Delhi by Samuel Paul ., 2015, 260 pp., 850
December 2015, volume 39, No 12

It has for long been an accepted economic wisdom that the trajectory of economic development taken by ‘constituent units of a country’ (hereafter as ‘States’) tends to converge over time. In a timely intervention, Samuel Paul and Kala Seetharam Sridhar have, in their co-authored book entitled, The Paradox of India’s North-South Divide: Lessons from the States and Regions (hereafter as The Paradox) ‘counter’ this by drawing from variegated economic experiences of North and South Indian States. They examine the why and how of North-South divide by invoking a set of ‘proximate’ and ‘foundational’ factors to (i) test the ‘credibility’ of the claim that southern States performed better than their northern counterparts, (ii) examine ‘when and in what respect’ the South performed better than the North, and (iii) examine the ‘reasons behind the paradox’ of the North-South economic divide (pp. 5–6). While acknowledging the import of ‘proximate’ factors like literacy, health, education, infrastructure, and urbanization, among others, Paul and Sridhar contend that ‘foundational’ factors like governance, law and order are critical in determining divergent economic outcomes of North and South Indian States (pp. 33–34).

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