ARC Internal Seminar with Mahvish Shami
The Impact of Market Exposure on Public Goods Provision: Evidence From Rural Punjab, Pakistan
by visiting PhD scholar Mahvish Shami, Asia Research Centre
The talk is based on a paper for my PhD-thesis which looks at the impact landlords' power over peasants can have on public goods provision in rural Punjab, Pakistan. Isolation combined with high levels of poverty has meant that peasants have to rely on landlords for the provision of their most basic needs (shelter, employment, security etc.). This enables the landlord to enjoy considerable leverage vis-à-vis the peasant and allows him to make demands which could be deemed exploitative. My talk will specifically look at how this relationship affects political behaviour, as the politician can choose to contract with the landlord for peasants' votes thus eliminating the need to provide for them. The outcome is typically gross under-provision of public goods in secluded villages dominated by large landlords.
My research looks at the possibility of using road networks as a way of changing the relative bargaining powers in the village economy to the advantage of the peasant. By connecting the village to the wider national economy, road-networks provide peasants with alternative options to the landlord for satisfying their needs, thus reducing the landlords' power. Based on data collected from 8 villages in Hafizabad, Pakistan, this particular paper investigates how roads can change this relationship and thereby bring about increased public goods provision. The paper concludes that road networks could be a relatively cheap and politically feasible way to improving the overall welfare of Pakistani peasants.
The Asia Research Centre Internal Seminars is a series of seminars to share knowledge among members. To build up a lively and commited research community, members of the ARC network and other interested scholars will present and discuss their current research at the seminars.
The ARC Internal Seminars are mainly for researchers affiliated with the Asia Research Centre, but other interested scholars are most welcome to attend.
Please note: As the centre will host a small lunch for the participants, should you wish to attend please inform us about your attendance no later than two days before the seminar at firstname.lastname@example.org