ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Boom and Bust?

A Political Economy Reading of India’s Growth Experience, 1993-2013

India's post-reform growth experience can be separated into three distinct growth episodes. The first growth episode was from 1993 to 2002 and was characterised by a set of predictable informal relationships ("ordered deals") between political and economic elites, which were relatively open as well. The second episode was from 2002 to 2010, and deals in this period became increasingly closed, leading to negative feedback effects along with structural retrogression of the economy. The third episode, beginning in 2011, was one of an incipient growth deceleration, and was characterised by increasingly disordered deals. This paper argues that this deceleration is the outcome of two separate phenomena: (1) increasing political delegitimation of the growth process that was seen as highly predatory and corruption-intensive; and (2) the pushback from accountability institutions in the post-2010 period. For growth to return, more than economic reforms or infrastructure spending, it is necessary for a realignment of the relationships between political and economic elites and between elites and non-elites such that there is a return to "open ordered deals".

This paper is part of a research project on the politics of growth conducted by the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre, based at the University of Manchester (, in collaboration with the Institute of Economic Growth. We thank Jagadish Sahu for his able research assistance. We thank the participants of the workshop on "Beyond Policy Paralysis" on 23 July 2014 at the India International Centre, Delhi, and particularly thank an anonymous reviewer of this journal, Barbara Harriss-White, Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Lant Pritchett for their insightful comments. The usual disclaimer applies.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

Pay INR 200.00

(Readers in India)

Pay $ 12.00

(Readers outside India)

Back to Top