Modi-nomics and the Politics of Institutional Change in the Indian Economy

Journal of Asian Public Policy, Vol. 9(2), pp.154-169, 2016

21 Pages Posted: 8 May 2020

See all articles by Jivanta Schottli

Jivanta Schottli

Dublin City University

Markus Pauli

Dublin City University; National University of Singapore; Yale-NUS; Heidelberg University; Singapore Management University (SMU)

Date Written: 2016


The term ‘Modi-nomics’ gained widespread publicity across India and resonated internationally during the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) campaign for the 2014 general elections. Named after the BJP’s star campaigner and then Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, Modi-nomics refers to his success as Chief Minister in Gujarat, a state richer, with faster GDP growth, more jobs and industry than most other Indian states. The 2014 campaign promised that the ‘Gujarat model’ of clean government and economic competence, could be replicated across the country.

In our paper, we identify the promises and premises behind Modi-nomics. We take stock of claims and criticism, drawing on comparative development statistics to discuss a much-lauded but also highly contested ‘success’ story. To assess whether Modi-nomics is guiding policy we draw upon Douglas North’s new institutionalism. In addition, we use a sociological understanding of institutions to argue that a central component of Modi-nomics is to achieve economic change by altering perceptions and images as well as policy. However, Modi- nomics remains highly contested within India’s domestic political arena and has unleashed other political entrepreneurs drawing on politics of entitlement (the Patel agitation) or religious sensibilities (the beef ban controversy). To gain resilience, Modi-nomics will have to combine ideational and institutional change and to reconcile the tensions arising in the process.

Keywords: Narendra Modi, Modi-nomics, Gujarat model, institutional change, political entrepreneur, economic policies, development, inclusion, Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP, India, Prime Minister, Chief Minister, Indian States, GDP growth, jobs, perception, governance, infrastructure, industry, investment

JEL Classification: E2, E22, E23, E24, H11, H12, H4, I, I3, O1, O2, O43

Suggested Citation

Schottli, Jivanta and Pauli, Markus, Modi-nomics and the Politics of Institutional Change in the Indian Economy (2016). Journal of Asian Public Policy, Vol. 9(2), pp.154-169, 2016, Available at SSRN:

Jivanta Schottli

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Markus Pauli (Contact Author)

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