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Governance Performance of Indian States 2001-02 and 2011-12

Publication date

Mar, 2016


NIPFP Working paper No. 164


Sudipto Mundle, Samik Chowdhury, Satadru Sikdar


There is a core concept of good governance, the combination of authority and responsibility to pursue the common good that goes back over millennia in different geographies around the world. Based on a contemporary interpretation of this concept, the paper develops a measure of the quality of governance as service delivery. This measure is applied to rate and rank the governance performance of major states in India in 2001-02 and 2011-12. The governance measure has been derived from the three main pillars of the government, i.e., the legislature, the judiciary and, especially, the executive. These pillars are represented by five dimensions: infrastructure services; social services; fiscal performance; justice, law & order; and quality of the legislature. Performance on each dimension of governance has been measured using indicators that are based exclusively on official factual data, not perceptions or opinions drawn from unrepresentative samples. The results show considerable stability of the cluster of high performing and low performing governments at the top and the bottom of governance rankings over the period analysed, though there are also some interesting dynamics of change. The paper also presents a second set of results that correct for the strong correlation between governance quality and the level of development. When we correct for the effect of development on the quality of governance, it turns out that some of the poorer states significantly improve their rank, implying their governance performance is much better than would be expected at their level of development.

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