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12 July 2022

Director of King's India Institute wins Best Article Award

Professor Louise Tillin’s article ‘Building a National Economy: Origin of Centralized Federalism in India’ has won the John Kincaid Best Article Award, awarded by ‘Publius: The Journal of Federalism’.

Louise Tillin at King's India Institute 10th anniversary reception (credit: David Tett)
Louise Tillin at King's India Institute 10th anniversary reception (credit: David Tett)

The article studies the post-colonial roots of India’s federalism, a system that combines a strong Central government with shared policy responsibilities between the national and state governments.

It provides an accessible, yet detailed and thorough, history of institutional development in the period leading up to constitutional adoption in 1950. Contrary to existing explanations based on anti-secessionist and pro-democratic goals, the article finds that India’s centralized federalism is also the product of politicians’, industrialists’, and labor leaders’ aim to prevent “race to the bottom” dynamics and boost industrial and welfare state development.

It was an unexpected honour to be awarded this year's John Kincaid Prize by the APSA federalism section for my Publius article on the origins of centralized federalism in India. Very many thanks to the committee for this recognition.”

Louise Tillin

Reflecting on the article, the award committed commented: “The strengths of this article lie in the thorough analysis of an understudied topic (the origins of India’s federalism) and the systematic use of archival evidence from Indian and British archives to build a convincing and unexpected argument. The findings challenge and deepen the existing scholarly accounts of the motivating factors behind India’s unique system of federalism.”

The research was supported by a Leverhulme Trust research fellowship, entitled Welfare and Capitalism in India: A Political History.

You can read the article in full on Publius: The Journal of Federalism.

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Louise Tillin

Professor of Politics