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Leonard Wantchekon

Leonard Wantchekon

Board Member

Professor Leonard Wantchekon is the James Madison Professor of Political Economy at Princeton University, as well as Professor of Politics and International Affairs. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a member of the Executive Committee of the International Economic Association, and has served as Secretary of the American Political Science Association and on the Executive Committee of the Afrobarometer Network. Wantchekon is also the Founder and President of the African School of Economics, which opened in Benin in 2014 (and has since added a second campus in Cote d’Ivoire), and the Founder and President of the Pan-African Scientific Research Council. He previously served as professor at New York University and at Yale University, and holds a PhD in Economics from Northwestern University.



When Good Policy Meets Bad Politics Thumbnail

When Good Policy Meets Bad Politics: Property Rights, Land Amalgamation, and Urbanization in India

Indian cities are facing challenges due to their low-rise structures and sprawling slums that are projected to increase with the growth of urban populations in the future. To cope with this trend and take advantage of agglomeration externalities, India needs to adopt a more upward, pyramid-like approach with increased density. Although strengthening property rights has been suggested as a solution, India’s fragmented land ownership system makes this option difficult.

Previously, the Indian government used eminent domain to acquire and amalgamate land for industrial or infrastructural use, but this led to significant political opposition in the 2000s. As a result, the 2013 Land Acquisition Act was passed, which narrowed the circumstances under which land could be acquired, increased compensation payments, and extended those payments to non-owners who relied on the land for their livelihoods. While this approach has ensured political acquiescence among rural and slum dwellers, it has created a problem for private businesses that require land for property or industrial development, causing a significant time and cost burden.

This political reality, while necessary for a democratic India, may not be conducive to good economics and may lead to dysfunctional urbanization.

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CCI September Book Club

September Book Club Review

Each month, the CCI team selects a new book to read and discuss together. Our book club selections cover a wide range of topics that are relevant to charter cities, but they are most often related to development, urban issues, and governance. In this ongoing series, reviewers will offer summaries of the books we’ve read and share some of the highlights from our discussions.

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November 16-18, 2023 | Kigali, Rwanda


You won’t want to miss the first-ever Africa’s New Cities Summit!