India’s Lockdown and the Great Exodus
The pandemic-induced lockdown in India caused a great exodus of millions of seasonal workers from cities, an impact for which the government was completely unprepared. This essay considers the socio-economic setting of the exodus, the potential economic and epidemiological impact, policy suggestions, and evaluation of the policy (non)response of the Indian government. We consider the underlying political economy of policy distortion and suggest ways that might enable incentive compatible corrections.
Keywords: Lockdown • Public policy distortions • Incentive compatibility • Political economy of policymaking • Informal economy • Internal migration