It is very commonly made argument these days that public systems are collapsing in India because the elite have exercised their power to ‘exit’ and not to ‘voice’ for change/betterment.  Niranjan Rajadhyksha says this in a Mint column:

“Say, a school system is declining in the quality of education it provides. Quality-conscious parents who are relatively better off will pull their children out of these schools and move them to private schools. Price-conscious parents who want their children to be in school and are not aware of quality issues will stay behind. But the loss of the “best” will reduce pressure on the school system to improve its quality. There will be further decline.

Exit is the easy way out but can lead to further decline. This seems to be what is happening in India in various ways.”

I have heard this so many times, particulary in advocacy for school reforms, that i have been thinking hard to find a counterfactual. I think i have come up with one and want to share it here. Well, the counterfactual is our courts!

Think about it. Mukesh Ambani or Shekum Inabma, all have to go to the same courts.  There is no exit for Mukesh Ambani from the Indian judicial system. Has that meant that courts are better compared to other government services? Have they improved at a rate faster than other government services? QED.

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The opinions expressed in this essay are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CCS.