Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD) LSE RSS Contact Us YouTube Twitter

LSE India Observatory | Research | Palanpur

Brief History of Palanpur Studies

There have been seven detailed studies of Palanpur between 1957 and 2015, a period that has witnessed a profound transformation of the Indian economy and society, providing a unique opportunity to understand development in India through one village. Much is now known about the structure of Palanpur's economy: the operation of village institutions (such as land, labour and credit markets); the expanding importance - since the early 1970s - of links to the broader Indian economy; the evolution of incomes, poverty and inequality.

The first two studies, conducted during 1957-58 and 1962-63 by the Agricultural Economics Research Centre of the University of Delhi, were designed to throw light on the relevant policy questions at that time such as co-operative credit and seed supply.

The third round of the survey was conducted in 1974-75 by Christopher Bliss (Oxford University) and Nicholas Stern, which resulted in the publication of the first book on Palanpur, Palanpur: The economy of an Indian village. Subsequent surveys were conducted in 1983-84 and in 1993. The second book on Palanpur titled Economic Development in Palanpur over Five Decades, by Peter Lanjouw and Nicholas Stern, was published in 1998. The sixth round of data collection was led by Himanshu during 2008-10. The most recent round of data collection was conducted during the first half of 2015.

There is a round of study for each decade since independence making it a unique longitudinal village level study in terms of the continuity and richness of data. Three of the surveys involved long residency in the village (more than eight months in each of 1974-75, 1983-84 and 2008-10) by the principal investigators themselves. There has been continuity of the researchers; Nicholas Stern has been involved with the study of this village since 1974. Thus, there is close acquaintance not only with the household data, but also with the individuals and households themselves, together with the economic, social and political institutions of the village. The time spent in developing in-depth knowledge of the village has allowed high data quality, and a rich narrative of the household histories spanning multiple generations, to be gathered. Data collected in Palanpur provides a unique opportunity to understand development in India through the perspective of one village.