Promise and Default of the Kerala Model Essay

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The Promise and Default of the “Kerala Model” Blessy Mathew Savu Maria Caracota Dimitriu * * Abstract Kerala, a southern state in India has consistently outdone other states with regards to human development indicators, with greater welfare and development standards than in the rest of India. Much of this development is fuelled from remittances sent home from Gulf countries. This paper looks into the Kerala Model which shows economic development without economic growth, by alligning migration and development theories to ground-level statistics and critically analyzing both. The paper concludes with remarks on the sustainability of the Kerala Model. Keywords: development, migration, unemployment, remittances, sustainable JEL Classification: O11, O12, O15, O40 Introduction Development economics has implicitly sought the eradication of underdevelopment and backwardness. Many a theorists have construed the necessity of economic growth in order to experience "development", in other words, to overcome backwardness. But recently, the "Kerala model" has kindled much excitement amongst experts in this subdivision of economics as it has appeared to present an alternative. However, I argue that many of the achievements characteristic of the Kerala model are deceptive as outbound migration to the Gulf, which temporarily fuels the development progress of Kerala, contributes to sustained economic degeneration of the state that may in turn undo the temporary development levels that Kerala has attained. The paper argues this point by critically analyzing migration theories and studies, statistical data for India and Kerala and ground level information on Kerala’s socio-economic characteristics. Justification Analyzing the economic impact of emigration from India to all the plausible destinations would be a rather formidable task, as both the factors

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