Vested Interests: Examining the Political Obstacles to Power Sector Reform in Twenty Indian States
Energy Research and Social Science, Forthcoming
52 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2020
Date Written: August 13, 2020
Why do power sector reform succeed and fail in democratic contexts? We conduct comparative case studies of these reforms in the largest 20 Indian states. These states have responded to India’s electricity generation, transmission, and distribution crises in different ways. Similar to conventional case studies, our research design has the virtue of allowing us to explore historical processes. However, having a large number of cases also enables us to consider multiple causal factors at the same time. Both the findings and non-findings speak to the broad debate on the possible causes of reform failure. We find support for hypotheses emphasizing electoral opportunism and the politics of interest group (organized labor, agricultural interests). In contrast, partisan cleavages do not seem to explain reform failure. These findings offer new insights into politically feasible reform strategies for India.
Keywords: economic reform, political economy, interest groups, power sector, energy policy, India
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