This is an archived version of the PW Sources newsletter from Saturday, June 24. Sign up to receive PW Sources directly to your inbox here.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently on an official state visit to the United States. President Joe Biden is widely understood to be courting India as a strategic partner against China. 

In a 2020 book, TANVI MADAN charts the tangled history of India-US-China relations from 1949 to the present.  

From the text:

“It was China, and not Pakistan’s military alliance with the US, as is commonly understood, that brought the Cold War to India’s doorstep. Between 1949 and 1956, China was a key driver of US-India divergence. The two countries’ differences were evident on questions such as the recognition of China, in the discussions over what to do about Tibet, and in the debate over China’s role in the Korean War. From 1956 to 1962, broad agreement on China was a significant reason for US-India engagement. There was a convergence on the nature and urgency of the China threat, as well as what was required to meet such a threat: close partnership with each other, and the strengthening of India’s military and economic capabilities. During the subsequent phase from 1963 to 1968, the two countries disagreed about the optimum balance of resources that should be devoted toward Indian development versus defense to strengthen the country against China. In a role reversal, the US believed that the China threat called for more Indian investment in its economy, and more American aid to India’s development rather than to its defense effort. On its part, the Indian government envisioned significantly more defense expenditure than before. Between 1969 and 1972, the US came to see India as hindering Sino-US rapprochement. After Sino-US rapprochement, between 1973 and 1979, the US framework for Asia reduced, if not eliminated, the US desire and need to seek an Indian role as a counterweight to China.” 

+ “Modi’s reinvention of India’s foreign economic policy, with its marked shift towards a new narrative of openness accompanied by a reticence to actually realize liberalization in key areas, were functions of a political compromise within his government and the broader Hindu nationalist movement, and of problems generated largely by China.” By Ian Hall. Link

+  “For the last 20 years, the United States has mostly overlooked its divergences with India in multilateral forums as the relationship paid economic, strategic, and political dividends bilaterally.” By Chirayu Thakkar. Link

+  “The Modi government will have to find a more nuanced and principled position on Ukraine if it does not want to see the G20 summit in September implode spectacularly in full public glare.” By Sushant Singh. Link. And seven scholars discuss the significance of Modi’s visit to the US. Link


Community water systems

GRETCHEN SILEO is an assistant professor in economics at Temple University. In her job market paper, she compares proactive and reactive investment in community water systems.

From the paper

“Community water systems provide drinking water to over 310 million Americans, or about 94% of the population. In 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency found that 7% of community water systems reported at least one health-based violation. Each year roughly 19.5 million cases of waterborne illnesses can be attributed to contaminants in drinking water provided by water systems. Motivated by these facts, I construct a dynamic optimal stopping problem for water system managers to study managers’ proactive and reactive investment decisions, and whether infrastructure investments are sufficient for systems to provide safe drinking water now and in the future. The model is consistent with a number of empirical relationships that emerge from an analysis of data on infrastructure projects and water quality violations in Kentucky over 2007 2019. I then integrate these empirical relationships into the model and quantify the effectiveness of proactive and reactive projects. I find that proactive projects increase quality more than reactive projects for the same level of expenditure. I also determine that current levels of investment are insufficient to maintain water quality above health-based standards. Among a set of policy prescriptions that I consider, I find that subsidies for larger proactive projects lead to most systems overinvesting to maintain quality well above required levels, and leaves some systems vulnerable to extreme, unrecoverable emergencies.”

+ + +

+  “Semiconductors have returned to their earlier status as a litmus test for symbol of American power and decline.” New on PW, Susannah Glickman on the history of Intel and US chipmaking. Link

+  “The message from the global South is clear: Countries need more fiscal space to accelerate climate action and cannot achieve their policy objectives through austerity.” New on The Polycrisis, Patrick Bigger and Federico Sibaja on the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact. Link.

+  Join JFI Friday June 30 at 1pm ET for a presentation and discussion on the mumbuca, a digital complementary currency introduced in Maricá, Brazil, as part of the city’s Solidarity Economy Program. Link to register for the event, and link to a new interactive report on the mumbuca, produced in collaboration with our colleagues at Fluminense Federal University. 

+  “It’s going to quickly reverse all the progress that was made during the repayment pause.” The New York Times features JFI’s Laura Beamer on the end of the student debt repayment pause. Link. And read JFI’s report on the pandemic repayment pause, by Eduard Nilaj, Sérgio Pinto, Marshall Steinbaum, and Laura Beamer. Link.   

+  “Central to platforms corporate political strategies is the use of corporate grassroots lobbying (CGL), the selection, mobilization, resourcing and coordination of ordinary users and grassroots allies to influence the public and policy-making process.” By Luke Yates. Link

+  “The transition to digital mail scanning produces troves of location-based and textual data on senders and recipients, further expanding the reach of prison surveillance.” Phillip Vance Smith II on prison communication. Link

+  “The Qualified Small Business Stock exclusion exacerbates U.S. income and wealth inequality by targeting a tax break toward savvy and already wealthy high-tech investors and (often repeat) entrepreneurs.” By Manoj Viswanathan. Link

+  A report from the Private Equity Stakeholder Project on the funding behind Atlanta’s Cop City. Link

+  “The relationship between the US and Brazilian labor movements has proven to be long-lasting and institutionalized, yet also adaptable.” By Jana Silverman and Stanley Gacek. Link

+  Two by Jethro Norman, on how how foreign aid and investment shape political conflict in Somaliland. Link and link.

+  “Although Papal public debt was similar to that of other states on the Italian peninsula and in Europe, the manner of government in the Papal States, verging on absolute, and the nature of its electorate, however, could not help but influence the governing of its finances. A common denominator of careful administration is evident in the public-debt policy of all of the popes. The differences in their policies did not derive primarily from the ‘twofaced’ papal sovereignty, which saw the pope, on the one hand, as the ruler of a medium-sized Italian state, and, on the other, as the source of livelihood for the Roman populace. A state’s condition depended on its location, the variety and organization of its culture, and the class alliances that its creators were able to forge. Consequently, the way in which rulers, particularly Rome’s, dealt with the problem of public debt depended on the general policy of state-building that they adopted. The Roman market was a paragon of effective public-debt management because of the confidence that the Apostolic Camera was able to inspire, thanks to its low risk and its high returns relative to those of other financial instruments (though, truth be told, the area presented few significant investment alternatives).” By Donatella Strangio. Link

Each week we highlight research from a graduate student, postdoc, or early-career professor. Send us recommendations:

Subscribe to PW Sources