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The political economy of government responsiveness: theory and evidence from India

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  • Timothy Besley
  • Robin Burgess

Abstract

The determinants of government responsiveness to its citizens is a key issue in political economy. Here we develop a model based on the solution of political agency problems. Having a more informed an politically active electorate strengthens incentives for governments to be responsive. This suggests that there is a role both for democratic institutions and the mass media in ensuring that the preferences of citizens are reflected in policy. The ideas behind the model are tested on panel data from India. We show that public food distribution and calamity relief expenditure are greater, controlling for shocks, where governments face greater electoral accountability and where newspaper circulation is highest.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/2308/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 2308.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:2308

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Related research

Keywords: government responsiveness; mass media; political economy; political agency; political accountability; democracy; social protection; disaster relief; public food distribution;

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References

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  1. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, 09.
  2. Miguel, Edward A., 2001. "Ethnic Diversity and School Funding in Kenya," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt0101m00c, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
  4. Narayan, Deepa & Pritchett, Lant, 1997. "Cents and sociability : household income and social capital in rural Tanzania," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1796, The World Bank.
  5. La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Inequality and group participation: theory and evidence from rural Tanzania," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 235-273, August.
  6. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1993. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," NBER Working Papers 4575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 1998. "Land reform, poverty reduction and growth : evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2018, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Ahluwalia, Deepak, 1993. "Public distribution of food in India : Coverage, targeting and leakages," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 33-54, February.
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