Review of Palanpur: The Economy of an Indian Village
The book under review is a major study of behaviour in an Indian village, displaying an interesting combination of rigorous (neo-classical) economic theory and applied econometrics. At one time agricultural economics was a poor second cousin: it was even referred to as ‘cow-dung economics’ by the economics intelligentsia. Now, however, agricultural economics seems to have captured the imagination of leading mathematical economists (and that is the top of the hierarchy) like Stiglitz, Mirrlees, Bliss and Stern. No armchair theorists, Bliss and Stern have descended into the dust and din of an Indian village and collected enormous amounts of data with which to test theories of the allocation of factors of production. Moreover, this is not the work of ‘mindless maximisers’ from Chicago: it is a subtle analysis of economic behaviour using neo-classical tools. The authors’ main concerns were whether farmers’ decisions on inputs and outputs could be explained by an optimising model (whether farmers were ‘rational’ profit or utility maximising agents) and whether share-cropping tenancy was inefficient.
KeywordsProduction Function Frontier Production Neoclassical Economic Uttar Pradesh Indian Village
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