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International development experts share their ideas on how wealthy countries can promote prosperity in developing countries. Follow at

Aug 21, 2012

Electric power has been restored across northern India to the 600 million people who recently found themselves sweltering in the dark. But the massive blackouts have left lingering questions about the country's ability to provide the infrastructure necessary to sustained growth and poverty reduction. CGD Fellow Arvind Subramanian puts the blame on populism-a tendency of politicians to promise free or heavily subsidized electricity and officials to turn a blind eye to power theft-that has left India with an undercapitalized, inefficient power sector that has much higher transmission and distribution losses than other countries at a similar level of development.

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