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A Discursive Dominance Theory of Economic Reform Sustainability: The Case of India

Sharma, Chanchal Kumar (2008): A Discursive Dominance Theory of Economic Reform Sustainability: The Case of India. Published in: India Review , Vol. 2, No. 10 (11. May 2011): 126 -184.

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Abstract

This article hypothesizes that economic reforms become sustainable when the discursive conditions prevailing in society tip against the existing paradigm under exceptional circumstances. Thus, unless the pro-liberalization constituencies dominate the development discourse, economic reforms, initiated under the exigencies of crisis and conditionalities, or carried out by a convinced executive with or without the stimulus of a crisis, will be reversed. The discursive conditions are determined based on eight factors: the dominant view of international intellectuals, illustrative country cases, executive orientations, political will, the degree and the perceived causes of economic crisis, attitudes on the part of donor agencies, and the perceived outcomes of economic reforms. The paper seeks to prove this “discursive dominance” hypothesis for the Indian case through a cross-temporal, comparative review of the evolution of economic policy in India over six different phases.

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