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Do voters demand responsive governments? Evidence from Indian disaster relief

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  • Cole, Shawn
  • Healy, Andrew
  • Werker, Eric

Abstract

Using rainfall, public relief, and election data from India, we examine how governments respond to adverse shocks and how voters react to these responses. The data show that voters punish the incumbent party for weather events beyond its control. However, fewer voters punish the ruling party when its government responds vigorously to the crisis, indicating that voters reward the government for responding to disasters. We also find evidence suggesting that voters only respond to rainfall and government relief efforts during the year immediately preceding the election. In accordance with these electoral incentives, governments appear to be more generous with disaster relief in election years. These results describe how failures in electoral accountability can lead to suboptimal policy outcomes.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 97 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 167-181

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:97:y:2012:i:2:p:167-181

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

Related research

Keywords: Political economy; Government expenditures; Disaster relief; India; Voting;

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References

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  1. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "The political economy of government responsiveness: theory and evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2308, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  5. Seema Jayachandran, 2006. "Selling Labor Low: Wage Responses to Productivity Shocks in Developing Countries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 538-575, June.
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  9. Shawn A. Cole, 2008. "Fixing Market Failures or Fixing Elections? Agricultural Credit in India," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-001, Harvard Business School.
  10. Rathore, M. S., 2005. "State level analysis of drought policies and impacts in Rajasthan, India," IWMI Working Papers H037842, International Water Management Institute.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rosa C. Hayes & Masami Imai & Cameron A. Shelton, 2013. "Attribution Error in Economic Voting: Evidence from Trade Shocks," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2013-009, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
  2. Raghav Gaiha & Kenneth Hill & Ganesh Thapa & Varsha S. Kulkarni, 2013. "Have natural disasters become deadlier?," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 18113, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  3. Aysit Tansel & Ali T. Akarca, 2012. "Turkish Voter Response to Government Incompetence and Corruption Related to the 1999 Earthquakes," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1204, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  4. Lakshmi Iyer & Petia Topalova, 2014. "Poverty and Crime: Evidence from Rainfall and Trade Shocks in India," Harvard Business School Working Papers 14-067, Harvard Business School, revised Aug 2014.
  5. Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2011. "Government Transfers and Political Support," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 1-28, July.
  6. Chandler, Vincent, 2011. "The Canada economic action plan as electoral tool," MPRA Paper 33594, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Fuchs, Alan & Rodriguez-Chamussy, Lourdes, 2014. "Voter response to natural disaster aid : quasi-experimental evidence from drought relief payments in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6836, The World Bank.
  8. Kessing, Sebastian G., 2010. "Federalism and accountability with distorted election choices," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 239-247, March.
  9. Bianchini Laura & Revelli Federico, 2011. "Green Polities: Urban Environmental Performance and Government Popularity," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201104, University of Turin.
  10. Casaburi, Lorenzo & Troiano, Ugo, 2013. "Ghost-House Busters: The Electoral Response to a Large Anti Tax Evasion Program," MPRA Paper 52242, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Noy, I, 2012. "Investing in Disaster Risk Reduction: A Global Fund," Working Paper Series 2390, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
  12. Raghav Gaiha1 & Kenneth Hill & Ganesh Thapa, 2012. "Have Natural Disasters Become Deadlier?," ASARC Working Papers 2012-03, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
  13. Susmita Roy, 2010. "The impact of natural disasters on crime," Working Papers in Economics 10/57, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.

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