Sandip Mitra is a researcher at the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata.
Many developing countries are decentralizing delivery of public services to local governments in the hope this will enhance accountability of service providers. To what extent is it actually succeeding? As highlighted by the 2004 World Development Report, this issue has become highly relevant in large parts of the developing world, given widespread evidence of serious problems of corruption, diversion of antipoverty programs to groups that are not intended beneficiaries, and high rates of absenteeism among service providers in health and education.
Credit and information constraints are particularly acute for farmers in developing countries, and can have a strong impact on their productivity. This project studies pass-through of fluctuations of retail prices to farm-gate prices in the context potato cultivation in West Bengal, India. The primary focus is on credit and information constraints faced by potato farmers and how these influence contractual relationships with trading middlemen in a random sample of 72 villages in Hugli and West Medinipur, two prominent potato growing districts of the state.
Over the last few years, large-scale land acquisitions of farmland for business in Africa, Latin America, and Asia have often made headlines because of controversies concerning compensation paid to displaced farmers. This has led to political strife, often leading to the abandonment of profitable projects, thereby dealing a blow to the development process. The issue of transfer of land from agriculture to industry has not received much attention in development economics.