On the colonial origins of agricultural development in India: A re-examination of Banerjee and Iyer, 'History, Institutions and Economic Performance'

Vegard Iversen, Richard Palmer Jones, Kunal Sen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Banerjee and Iyer find that districts which the British assigned to landlord revenue systems systematically underperform districts with non-landlord based revenue systems in agricultural performance, after the onset of the Green Revolution in the mid-1960s. Based on colonial documents, archival research and the work of historians, we correct a mis-interpretation of the land revenue system in Central Provinces, which BI characterise as landlord based. The historical evidence suggests that this region should be attributed to a mixed landlord/non-landlord based revenue system. Using a more appropriate classification, we find no evidence that agricultural performance of Indian districts in the post-independence period was adversely affected by the landlord land revenue system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1631-1646
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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