The twenty-first century will witness a rapid urban expansion in the developing world. India, it is believed, will be at the forefront of such a phenomenon. This book acknowledges the role of agglomeration externalities as the cornerstone of urban public policy in India.
Arguing that hypotheses of over-urbanization and urban bias theory—which articulated a negative view of urbanization—are based on fragile theoretical as well as empirical foundations, this book calls for proactive public policy to harness planned urbanization as resource. India requires agglomeration-augmenting, congestion-mitigating, and resource-generating cities as engines of economic growth, including rural development.
The book provides a large number of practical examples from India and abroad to enable policy-makers undertake reforms in urban and regional planning, financing, and governance to meet the challenges of urbanization in India. It combines theory and practice to draw lessons for an urban agenda for India and recognizes the central role of cities in catalysing growth and generating public finance for economic development.
Chapter 2: Fallacy of Over-Urbanization
Fallacy of Over-Urbanization
Urbanization and Migration
The 1950s witnessed a surge of research on the ongoing process of urbanization in the Third World, including India. Some economic historians and political economists advanced the view that the developing countries were experiencing “over-urbanization”, “hyper-urbanization”, or “urban hypertrophy”.1 They asserted that the number of urban dwellers in these countries was too large relative to the industrial jobs available. The developing countries were thus experiencing urbanization without industrialization. The “over-urbanization” thesis received a renewed support from another stream of research in the 1970s. This suggested that the Third World development was characterized by an “urban bias”, resulting from government policies favouring larger cities.2 The “over-urbanization” and “urban bias” theories portray a negative role of urbanization in developing countries. ...