The Dynamics of Urban Sprawl: Land-use changes, food supply and sustainablethe agriculture production system in Arid and semi-arid zones

ICRISAT along with Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and Morsel Research and Development Pvt Ltd is implementing a project on “The Dynamics of Urban Sprawl: Land-use changes, food supply and sustainable agriculture production system in Arid and semi-arid zones”. As part of the project ICRISAT is conducting a survey to understand the cultivation practices,the dynamics encountered during the sale of produce, on-farm practices, and issues faced in the post-harvest phase of farmers in their area. MORSEL conducts interviews of few farmers from the villages i.e. participants and non-participants of an FPC to understand the above. The total sample size of the project is 400 Individuals, where 200 are FPO participants and 200, are non FPO participants. The Implementation area of the project is three districts of Telangana State. 

Location: Telangana

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Garment Worker Diaries

MORSEL conducted a distinctive study in 6 Taluks of Karnataka funded by Microfinance Opportunities and Fashion Revolution. A panel survey, the project aims to study the financial and working conditions of the Garment Factory workers. Garment workers were provided with a diary to record their weekly activities, work schedule, weekly expenses, and incomes. Apart from this, they also record their working conditions and the allowances provided by the Factory. They are also required to write down incidents of harassment or injury if any. Morsel recorded this data from 180 Households for 52 weeks. Read More

Location: Karnataka (6 Taluks)

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UNDERSTANDING POLITICAL ECONOMY ANALYSIS OF ELECTRICITY SECTOR REFORMS IN UTTAR PRADESH

PIs: Shruti Sharma IISD, Tom Moerenhout IISD, Vibhuti Garg IISD, Johannes Urpelainen, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment (ERE) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

This study investigates both the tariff reform and the UDAY scheme. Among households, surveys were conducted with 1,917 households, split equally between urban and rural areas. Among agricultural landholders, surveys were conducted with 413 farmers, 284 of whom use diesel pumps for irrigation and 129 of whom use electric pumps; interviews were conducted with 67 of the latter.

This project benefited from the expertise of the Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) and the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP). The study suggests that some form of communication strategy can help create the political space that enables change. The government should consider a long-term strategy focused on awareness-raising and short-term strategies in support of specific reform initiatives. Awareness-raising is required because most consumers expect price rises but very few understand the scale of existing subsidies. This may make them feel more entitled to low prices, and it will prevent them from understanding the rationale for reform and the scale of price increases that may be sought over the medium to long term. Specific change strategies are required because many consumers clearly oppose price adjustments. Careful messaging can help convey how price adjustments will ultimately benefit consumers and not simply recover costs for discoms.

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Can a campaign influence public policy: an evidence from Mumbai slums

PIs: Anjali Bohlken ( GeorgiaTech ), Nikhar Gaikwad ( Columbia University ), and Gareth Nellis ( University of California, Berkeley ).

Inadequate water supply ranks among the most pressing challenges facing poor citizens in developing countries. The lack of potable water poses a serious threat to public health. Water-borne diseases such as diarrhea and cholera are a primary cause of infant mortality worldwide. We are conducting a study in Mumbai, India, to shed fresh light on the demand-side hurdles to formalized water access. We evaluate interventions that empower citizens to shift away from dependence on informal water supply services; principally illegal pipe connections, and paying for water sold on an ad hoc basis; into formal, state-based water provisioning, provided by the Mumbai municipal government. In one set of Mumbai slums, our NGO partners will disseminate information and give on-the-ground assistance in completing the (complex) paperwork needed to get connected. In a second arm, citizens will collectively petition local politicians to expedite the connection process. Morsel is gathering survey data from 7000 HHs in 140 slum clusters across the city.

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Labor Market Opportunities and Lives of Women in Rural India: Evidence from an Experimental Study

PIs: Professor Anant Nyshadham and Achyuta Adhvaryu.

This project studies the impacts of labor market opportunities on women's lives in rural India. Specifically, we used a randomized control trial to test whether and how improved employment opportunities could affect the labor force participation, family decision, and the bargaining power of women in rural India.

Morsel collected primary data during November 6, 2017, to August 24, 2018, in 20 blocks of two states, Karnataka (17 blocks) and Andhra Pradesh (3 Blocks) in 3 different phases. In the first phase, Morsel collected demographic characteristics of all the villages in 20 blocks using PRA technique. In the second phase, Morsel conducted the listing exercise in selected villages on 20 blocks. In the third and last phase of baseline data collection field team surveyed all the HH members of selected Households in the selected villages using different modules; HH Head, Female of the HH, Food experiment with the main cook of the HH, Time Use module with all the family members, Psychometric survey and Ravens' test with all the female members above 15 years old in the HH and one Village Survey to get the sense of business opportunities available in the village.

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Examining the impacts of weather variability and groundwater depletion on agricultural production in India

PIs: Sukhwinder Singh, Meha Jain

As Indo Gangetic Plains (IGP) is considered the “Food Bowl of India” contributing 80% towards wheat production and 60% towards rice production. This research examined ways to enhance or maintain yields to ensure food security over the upcoming decades, and identify potential management strategies or technologies that may make current systems more sustainable and reduce the negative impacts of this critical farming system on natural resources. It also investigates the impact of warming temperatures and to understand the factors that constrain wheat production in the IGP states.

For this research Morsel collected data on various socio-economic parameters from farmers who were involved in wheat production. For this information related to farming, irrigation systems and effect of demonetization on cultivation was collected from 2400 farmers across 12 sites in Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (IGP regions) in 3 Waves in 3 years respectively 2017, 2018, and 2019. Morsel used a structured survey instrument “CAPI” to collect the data. The collected data will be linked to remote sensing and census datasets later.

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Does Gender Representation Affect Police Legitimacy? Evidence from India

PIs: Nirvikar Jassal (University of California), Dr. Sharon Barnhardt Director of the Centre for Experimental Social Sciences, CESS Nuffield (FLAME University)

Does the presence of women officers afford the police greater institutional legitimacy in the developing world? Most studies about police legitimacy have been restricted to the global north, and few have used experimental techniques. However, the researchers restricted their survey experiments to the very specific contexts of domestic violence and traffic enforcement, respectively. In this paper, researchers further broaden the analysis of gender representation and police legitimacy to the developing world (India); their main goal is to understand how the nature of the crime, including those of a heinous nature, moderates any potential increase in levels of perceived legitimacy.

In sum, this project seeks to make two contributions: to categorize crime along a spectrum in order to examine whether women police are viewed differently as well as expand scholarship on gender and policing to the developing world with a novel experimental design. Morsel collected 1000 respondents in Maharashtra state comprising 50% male and 50% of female respondents.

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Caste Reservation in Panchayats and Distribution of Public Benefits

PIs: Thad Dunning (Robson Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley) and Jennifer Bussell (Gruber Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.)

In this project, MORSEL is collected panchayat reservation history data and procedure of allocation of reserved seats in all states of India. MORSEL is surveying State Election Commissioners and Panchayat Directorate officials of the states and collected secondary data. In the second part of this project, MORSEL is surveying officials from top to bottom at the district level – Elected and, Selected by government both) and even voters.

Elected: Gram Panchayat President , Gram Panchayat members, Block Panchayat Presidents, lock Panchayat Members, District Panchayat Presidents, District Panchayat members, MLAs, MPs

Selected by the government: Panchayat Secretary, Block Development officers, District Development officers

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The Economic Causes Of Crop Residue Burning In The Rice-Wheat System Of The Indo-Gangetic Plain

PIs: Ridhima Gupta and Professor E. Somanathan (ISI)

This project was to examine the impact of means of farming on pollution. As Punjab, a North Indian state, where the main occupation is agriculture, the farmers are using high-tech equipment compared to other parts of India. This survey-based study was focused on the machine by name Zero Till. This machine can plough the rice residue in the field and this can improve the fertility of land and there will be no need to burn rice residue. However, some of the farmers think this method to be too time and money consuming.

MORSEL was involved in this project in the pilot survey and sampling process. The survey was held in 4 districts of Punjab.

Location : Uttar Pradesh

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Voting behavior experiment in Uttar Pradesh

PIs: Gautam Nair

Although in theory elections are supposed to prevent criminal or venal candidates from winning or retaining office, in practice voters frequently elect and reelect such candidates. The electoral performance of candidates who face serious allegations likely reflects factors other than voters’ preferences for patronage, such as limited information about the candidate characteristics or the absence of credible alternative candidates with clean records.

For assessing such voting preferences of voters, Morsel surveyed 2500 voters under the guidance of Gautam Nair. The study was conducted in two phases. The first phase involved studying the factors that influence voting behavior or decision of a common man. This phase covered all the major districts of UP and completed before the elections, while the second stage was aimed to study the behavior of people post-election and It was concluded after the voting process completed and before the results were announced.

Location: 28 constituencies of Uttar Pradesh

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Understanding Patterns and Impacts of Electricity Quality and Access in Northern India

PIs: Marc Jeuland, Michael Keppler, Thomas Lutken, Sumin Wang

Indians have suffered from rolling outages and blackouts even as millions of citizens have gained access to electricity in recent years, which has led to concerns about electricity quality and its impacts. Under the guidance of the research team, Morsel collected data from Households and Enterprises in 40 villages of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

The goal of the research is to help shed light on the role of energy in economic development in these locations. The work helps contribute to the goals of the Energy Access Project (EAP) at Duke University. The EAP is broadly concerned with evaluating the drivers and impacts of sustainable energy transitions globally, with a particular focus on ways to accelerate these transitions in low‐ and middle‐income countries.

Researchers found that electricity quality varies strongly across zones served by different distribution companies, but is less closely related to the national electrification program Saubhagya. Access to electricity is strongly correlated with a better standard of living, as measured by household consumption, and that better electricity quality is strongly correlated with decreased household fuel consumption.

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Rethinking clientelism: Politics of service delivery in rural India

PIs: Aditya Dasgupta, Assistant Professor, University of California, Merced

Why in developing countries do some communities receive better access than others to government anti-poverty programmes that are ostensibly rule-based? For decades, the dominant framework for understanding this puzzle has been the literature on ‘clientelism’, which suggests that politicians manipulate public funds in order to cultivate political support. But are citizens simply passive recipients of funds distributed from above? The findings of this research suggest not. The communities that are best served by the government are those that possess both top-down political connections to the ruling party, as well as high levels of grassroots local democratic mobilisation needed to place pressure on local politicians to deliver services.

To study this puzzle, researchers examined how the performance of India’s largest rural anti-poverty programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), varied across villages in Rajasthan – a poor, arid state in Western India where demand for the programme is particularly intense. MORSEL interviewed 2250 households and 500 village council members from 100 Panchayats in 20 blocks.

Location : Rajasthan

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Ethnic Discrimination among residents of slum areas in India

PIs: Tariq Thachil, Associate Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University and Adam Auerbach, Assistant Professor in the School of International Service at American University.

MORSEL collected data electronically from 2200 households in the slum areas of Jaipur, Rajasthan Bhopal and Madhya Pradesh. Under the supervision of Tariq Thachil, Associate Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University and Adam Auerbach, Assistant Professor in the School of International Service at American University. MORSEL randomized different attributes and asked questions on politics, caste, corruption and infrastructure facilities in the slum areas. Electronic Maps were used for the sampling of households and MORSEL shared data with clients within 24 hours of the survey.

Location : Jaipur, Rajasthan and Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

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Getting Rich Too Fast? Voters’ Reactions to Politicians’ Wealth Accumulation

In this project, MORSEL implemented a lab-in-the-field vignette experiment in Bihar for Simon Chauchard Assistant Professor in Leiden University, Marko Klašnja, Assistant Professor in Georgetown University and S.P. Harish, Assistant Professor at the College of William & Mary. The experiment randomly manipulated a number of relevant characteristics of fictional but realistic candidates, including their wealth accumulation in office. Interviewers then asked a socially, politically and ethnically diverse sample of citizens in Madhepura district (N=1020) to evaluate these politician profiles on several dimensions: how good a representative a politician is, and how likely he is to be corrupt and to resort to violence. This design allowed the research team to measure the respondent’s relative weight given to each candidate attribute, including wealth accumulation. It also allowed the team to explore any interactions between wealth accumulation and the other politician attributes that likely play a role in citizen’s political evaluations, including ethnicity, partisanship and records in office. Finally, it allowed the team to examine possible interactions between a politician’s wealth accumulation and respondent’s important characteristics such as ethnicity and party preference.

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Understanding the importance of Khap Panchayat: survey at Haryana, India

PIs: Ashna Arora Research Director in the Crime and Education Labs

Ashna Arora, wanted to collect data about the spread and functioning of Khap Panchayats in Haryana – a state where khaps are functioning actively. Khap Panchayat is the union of 84 villages, they are traditional and caste-based socio-political groups found mainly in north India. They are infamous for their extra-judicial decision-making, as well as for imposing harsh social and monetary punishments to village residents. The MORSEL team surveyed Anganwadi workers, older (influential people) of the selected villages, Gram Panchayat head (and other members), as well as ex-Gram Panchayat members in Haryana state.

Location : Haryana, India

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Culture, Capital and the Political Economy Gender Gap: Evidence from Meghalaya’s Matrilineal Tribes

PIs: Rachel Brulé, and Nikhar Gaikwad

Scholars from Marx to Weber have debated whether the gender gap in political engagement and political economy preferences stems from material or cultural determinants. Researchers argue, by contrast, that cultural norms themselves structure access to economic resources; it is through this channel that gendered disparities in representation emerge. Isolating the relationship between culture and resources is challenging in societies where both disadvantage women. Researchers study a unique setting in Meghalaya state of northeast India where matrilineal tribes live alongside patrilineal communities. Morsel conducted survey experiments and behavioral games on representative samples of both communities in 8 different languages, alongside extensive qualitative and ethnographic evidence, showed that the gender gap reverses across patrilineal and matrilineal groups. These findings demonstrate that culturally-sanctioned wealth inequities explain the political economy gender gap.

Location : Meghayala

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How Quotas Shape Political Violence: Field Evidence from Jharkhand

PIs: Michael Gilligan (Professor of Politics, New York University) and Benjamin Pasquale (a researcher from New York University)

This survey-based project covered 105 Gram Panchayats in Jharkhand. The Survey was done under the patronage of Benjamin Pasquale and Michael Gilligan. MORSEL interviewed 16 natives in each Gram Panchayat. The sample criteria designed by Researchers was based on reports and news articles of Naxalite activities in Jharkhand published in Jharkhand and in nearby areas. The researchers had put in the intensity of incidence related to the Naxalite movement on Jharkhand’s map and drew a border of the least and most affected area by the armed movements. The researchers then selected Gram Panchayats randomly from both the areas and with the help of behavioral games and a careful analysis were done to study how development initiatives in some cases raised and in other cases reduced political violence.

Location : Jharkhand

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WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? IDENTIFYING THE DISTRIBUTIVE PREFERENCES OF LOCAL POLITICIANS IN INDIA

PIs: Mark Schneider (Political Scientist from Columbia University), NEELANJAN SIRCAR (Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research and Assistant Professor at Ashoka University)

The literature on decentralized public programs suggests that errors in the targeting of anti-poverty programs are rooted in the capture of these programs by local elites or local politicians. Consistent with the literature on moral economy in political science and experimental economics, researchers argued that voters in contexts of rural poverty prefer local leaders who target subsistence benefits to the poor. In a high information village context, where voters and leaders know each other, researchers argue that local elections lead to the selection of local leaders with pro-poor preferences over the distribution of these benefits. Researchers showed this with a novel theory of local politicians’ social preferences. They test this theory with unique data from a behavioral measure, conducted in the context of a lottery with a modest cash prize in rural India, that captures a scenario in which local leaders have full discretion and anonymity over allocation among members of their rural communities. The survey covered 12 blocks of rural Rajasthan.

Location : Rajasthan

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Incorporating public transfers into the measurement of poverty

PIs: Rohini Somanathan ( Delhi School of economics) and Anders Kjelsrud ( Oslo University ).

Poverty measurement in India has been extremely controversial. The recent expert group of the Planning Commission, among other things, proposed incorporating variations in the costs of health and education expenditures of households in arriving at new state-level poverty lines. This approach, however, does not allow for differences in the availability of public goods and would only be strictly valid if these services are privately provided and are of equal quality. Our research proposes a method for adjusting the distribution of income based on the local availability of public goods. Our hope is that this would provide both more realistic poverty lines, but also guide future investments in public goods in directions that would lead to improvements in the conditions of the poor.

Researchers’ analysis of secondary data will focus on the NSSEU survey of 2009-2010. Most households are likely to have access to publicly funded schools in these areas. We, therefore, intend to restrict ourselves to the rural sample. This provided us data of about 60,000 households and more than 7,500 villages in total; 3,300 households and 416 villages in Bihar.

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Unpacking Ethnic Preferences: Theory and Micro-Level Evidence From North India

PIs: Simon Chauchard Assistant Professor of Political Science at Leiden University

Much of the recent scholarship about ethnicity in comparative politics has focused on why ethnicity becomes a salient cleavage. Yet opinions still diverge as to how ethnicity matters. Researchers test three hypotheses relevant to this question. Building on recent arguments, it first hypothesizes that voters take the ethnicity of parties and candidates into consideration. Second, it hypothesizes that wherever ethnicity is politically salient, it matters beyond coethnicity—that is, voters’ decisions are guided by ethnicity even when they are choosing among non-coethnics. Third, it argues that the advantage conferred by ethnicity is mediated by non-ethnic factors. A large vignette experiment carried in 2013 in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (Gonda and Faizabad districts) provides strong support for each of these hypotheses. These results imply that the influence of ethnicity on voting behavior may be subtler and more complex than what the main theories of ethnic politics usually assume. MORSEL organized Lab in field experiments. The subjects were interviewed anonymously in a lab. MORSEL conducted 3000 lab surveys and 9000 village surveys for the above experiment.

Location : Gonda and Faizabad districts of Uttar Pradesh, India

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Political Mobilization in Rural India – Follow-Up Survey 2010

PIs: Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee (Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ), Rohini Pande (Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School ), Jeffery MacManus (PhD candidate of Economics, Harvard Kennedy School).

This survey was the follow-up to voter education campaigns conducted in 2007 (randomized trial) in the same region. However, the survey did not target subjects who participated in those campaigns, and no questions pertaining to those campaigns were asked. The survey consisted of a cover sheet, a consent form, six pages of questions, and an interviewer’s assessment form. In the questionnaire one section comprised of three vignette-styled questions. The vignettes are the heart of the survey. Each vignette describes two hypothetical candidates in a hypothetical district of Uttar Pradesh, providing varying pieces of information, and at the conclusion of each, vignette asks respondents to indicate which candidate they prefer. The hypothetical scenarios will demonstrate if caste- or party-affiliation fully determine voting behavior, or if information on other candidate characteristics (such as rumors of corruption or criminal charges) counterbalances or overwhelms these affiliations. The data collected from this survey will be critical in developing effective designs for voter education campaigns conducted in rural areas of South Asia. In this survey based study MORSEL was involved from the pilot survey to data entry. MORSEL surveyed in 5000 households in 250 villages in Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh.

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Voter Campaign (Uttar Pradesh)

PIs: Jennifer Green (PhD candidate, Department of Political Science, Yale University), Donald Green (Professor of Political Science, Yale University), Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee (Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Rohini Pande (Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School )

This randomized control trail was carried out in coordination with the Jamal Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) based in Lucknow. MORSEL designed the campaigns, trained the facilitators (for both the NGOs) and puppet teams. We collected data from various government agencies, newspapers, NGOs and other organizations. In this project, three randomized field experiments were conducted by researchers between March and May 2007 in Uttar Pradesh. UP is India’s most populous state and home to more than 10% of the world’s individuals living below the absolute poverty line. Unfortunately, in recent years this state has witnessed a significant rise in ethnic politics and, by most accounts, political corruption.

Each voter campaign was conducted in a random sample of villages spread across multiple jurisdictions. The caste and corruption campaigns exhorted voters to vote on the basis of issues and not along caste lines, or for corrupt candidates. Researchers conducted five experiments in 1000 randomly selected villages. Each village received one of three treatments across 27 electoral constituencies.

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Caste Politics and Redistribution

PIs: Avidit Acharya (Assistant Professor Department of Political Science, Stanford University), John Roemer (Professor of Political Science & Economics, Yale Univerisity ) and Rohini Somanathan (Professor of Economics, Delhi School of Economics )

This survey-based study was focused on isolating the effect of voter’s preference for parties that represent their caste on the equal distribution of government services among three classes: the rich, the middle class and the poor. For this purpose researchers selected a unique tool i.e. rupees. Our team used fake rupees and different type of plates as a symbol of rich (Copper), middle class (steel) and poor (clay). This was a fantastic tool for an opinion poll on voting as illiterate people know the value of money.

In this project, MORSEL was involved from the pilot survey to final data entry. MORSEL surveyed in 46 constituencies in 38 districts of Uttar Pradesh. There were two samples in the project. MORSEL surveyed 250 villages. In each village 18 households were surveyed and one village level questionnaire was done. It means total 4500 households surveyed.

Location : Uttar Pradesh

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Rural Transport Infrastructure, Poverty and Employment

PIs: Santosh Kumar (Associate Professor of Economics at Sam Houston State University), Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee (Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Rohini Pande (Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School)

This survey was based on the Participatory Rural Appraisal Exercise (PRAE) and carried out in 269 villages and in 14 districts of Uttar Pradesh. MORSEL also collected secondary data needed for the analysis.

The PMGSY scheme was launched by the Government of India in the year 2001 to connect previously unconnected habitations to the Uttar Pradesh road network. In the first phase of this scheme, habitations of population size 1000 or more (500 in the case of hill States, tribal and desert areas) were covered. In the second phase habitations of the population between 500 and 1000 (250 to 500 in the case of hill States, tribal and desert areas) were covered. About 368,000 km of new roads were constructed and 370,000 km of up gradation/renewal is expected to be completed. The World Bank is also a partner in this scheme.

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Parochial Politics: Ethnic Preferences and Politician Corruption

PIs: Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee (Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ) and Rohini Pande (Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School)

His survey examined the relationship between ethnic polarization among voters and politician quality as measured by their competence and/or degree of corruption. The survey elicited information on constituency-level development, changes in the wealth of politicians after they came to office, and how government funds were allocated among various projects. MORSEL was an implementing partner for the survey, in which more than 600 politicians and journalists were interviewed, across 51 (of 70) districts of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Professor Banerjee and Professor Pande selected districts for the clustering. In each district, six politicians and six journalists were selected from three election years (1969, 1980 and 1996). For the sampling, we first prepared a list of politicians and journalists who were there at the time of the survey and then chose randomly from this list.

Location : Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand

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Do Rural Migrants Divide Ethnically in the City? Evidence from an Ethnographic Experiment in India

PIs: Tariq Thachil, Associate Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University

Despite rapid urbanization across the Global South, identity politics within rural-urban migrant communities remains understudied. Past scholarship is divided over whether village-based ethnic divisions will erode or deepen within diverse poor migrant populations. The researcher assessed these divergent predictions through an ‘ethnographic survey experiment’ (N=4,218) among unique samples of poor migrants in India. Contra conventional expectations, the researcher found intra-class ethnic divisions are neither uniformly transcended nor entrenched across key arenas of migrant life. The Principal Investigator (PI) had mapped over 250 chowks (informal labor spot markets at road crossings, overpasses, and marketplaces) across the cities of Lucknow, Delhi and Gurgaon from where about 40 were selected for conducting the survey.

Location : North Indian states of India

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Be the Change You Want to See: Leadership Training and Women’s Political Participation

PIs: Lakshmi Iyer, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School and Anandi Mani , Associate Professor of Economics, University of Warwick

This project was examining the impact of a leadership and empowerment training program, aimed at increasing women’s political participation as voters, activists, informed citizens and political candidates. The training program was being conducted as a randomized trial and participation in both electoral and non-electoral political processes will be measured. This project was directed by Lakshmi Iyer, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School and Anandi Mani, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Warwick. MORSEL has completed an Endline survey of more than 2,500 respondents in 11 districts of Uttar Pradesh.

Location : Uttar Pradesh

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Land Title, Settlement Recognition and the Emergence of Property Rights

PIs: Anirudh Krishna, Erik Wibbels and Emily Rains

Planners in India distinguish between declared and undeclared (or notified, recognized, and unrecognized) slums, but events have overtaken these gross distinctions, resulting in the emergence of five and perhaps six distinct types of slums. How slum settlements differ at a point of time is poorly understood. Gaps in knowledge result in growing urban decay, segmented housing markets, proliferating squalor, corruption and wasteful expenditure, and rising inequalities in service provision. Associated with these concerns, this project has three objectives: First, to refine and extend a satellite-image-based methodology for identifying, mapping, categorizing and tracking slum settlements through time and in real time. Second, to understand if and how individual slum settlements upgrade over time, acquiring property rights and access to public goods. Third, to examine how different factors – including the period of settlement, land type, population composition and social networks, and political linkages – have affected the trajectories observed. For this purpose, Morsel conducted Networking survey and Household survey in around 6000 HHs and GPS mapping of slum areas in Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Patna (Bihar) cities.

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Tiger Reserve Area in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh states of India

PIs: Ruth Defries, professor of ecology and sustainable development at Columbia University and Amrita Neelakantan, Department of Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology

The land use around Tiger reserves plays an important role in sustaining the flow of organisms, water, nutrients and energy- linking the reserves to the outside. These reserves in India also support the livelihood needs of people living in and around them, especially fuelwood, fodder, forest products etc. Understanding these links between reserves and their surroundings is critical for effective conservation management and planning. As anthropogenic pressure builds and human-animal conflicts escalate – the need for a better scientific approach to manage land use around PAs becomes a critical conservation goal in India. Professor Ruth Defries and Amrita Neelakantan tried to map villages around Kanha Reserve area in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh states. Researchers selected 850 resettled households in 157 villages across four districts in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Additionally, researchers selected 425 non-resettled households across the landscape to provide baselines for variables in the analyses. Morsel collected primary data from selected Households (using GPS locations) across three seasons (summer, monsoon and winter) to capture seasonal variability of food security and pressures exerted by both resettled and non-resettled households.

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Clients and Constituents: Political Responsiveness in Patronage Democracies

PIs: Jennifer Bussell, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley

First time ever in India, MORSEL conducted a study to shadow the MLAs, MPs and Village Heads for 7 days in four states. The researcher is writing a book based on the data collected by Morsel and this book provides a theoretical and empirical examination of constituency service in developing countries. The predominant view of distributive politics in “patronage democracies” emphasizes the partisan targeting of pork and clientelism. In contrast, I demonstrate that high-level legislators in India and other contexts often provide direct, non-partisan assistance to individual constituents. Under what conditions do they provide constituency service, rather than engage in partisan bias? I show that the uneven character of access to services at the local level—often due to biased allocation on the part of local intermediaries—generates demand for help from higher-level officials, and also creates incentives for those politicians to bypass intermediaries by providing direct assistance. The book’s findings highlight the potential for an under-appreciated form of democratic accountability, one that is however rooted in the character of patronage-based politics.

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Does Political Empowerment Improve the Welfare of Urban Migrants? A Field Experiment on Voter Registration

Gareth Nellis, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego and Nikhar Gaekwad an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia University in New York are conducting a research in Delhi to know more about internal migrants. The purpose is to understand what prevents recent migrants to Delhi from registering to vote in the city and what is the effect of the intervention on migrant’s political participation and welfare. For this Morsel is conducting a survey of approximately 2,000 individuals in the slums of Delhi.

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Attribution and Democratic Accountability: Evidence From a Field Experiment in India

PIs: Tanushree Goyal

This project is carried out by researchers from the University of Oxford, Department of Politics and International Relations, under overall Guidance of Professor Robin Harding. This project is funded by the John Fell Fund at the University of Oxford. The overall objective of the project is to understand whether people know who is responsible for providing different types of services, such as education and healthcare. In particular, wants to know whether this affects the political choice people make when they vote. For this, Morsel was given the responsibility of data collection. So, for this Morsel collected data from 18 wards in Delhi. In each ward, there are approximately 90 respondents. So, approximate data collected by Morsel will be 1620. Here Morsel is conducting a survey to gather people’s opinion on politics and public services.

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Trust in Government and Subsidy Reform: Evidence from a Survey of Indian Farmers

PIs: Meir Alkon ( Princeton University) , Johannes Urpelainen ( Johns Hopkins University )

In this study, researchers examined the role of trust in government among farmers in explaining support for reforming India's energy subsidies. The subsidies under study hold back efforts to provide a reliable supply of agricultural power and contribute to the unsustainable extraction of groundwater. This water-energy nexus in rural India represents both a poverty-perpetuating policy equilibrium and a crisis in environmental governance. Informed by interviews and focus groups, Morsel conducted a survey of 2,010 farmers in Bihar, Gujarat, and Rajasthan and researchers analyzed this data on the preferences of 'vested interests' -- those most affected by potential reform -- to demonstrate the crucial role of political trust, especially trust in the national government, in predicting farmers' political support for reforms. Our findings have practical implications for environmental governance and rural development and contribute to understanding the political economy of social policy reform in a developing democracy.

Location: Bihar, Gujarat, and Rajasthan

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Conjoint survey to assess insurgency effect on implementation of public policies

MORSEL conducted a conjoint survey, an experiment designed by Emmanuel J. Teitelbaum to assess the impact of Government policies on Naxalites, an active radical group in Jharkhand.

Location: Jharkhand

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