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Decentralization and accountability : are voters more vigilant in local than in national elections ?

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  • Khemani, Stuti

Abstract

Defining vigilance as retrospective voting - where voters evaluate incumbents on their performance during their entire term in office - the author compares voter behavior in local and national elections to make inferences about whether voters are more vigilant in monitoring government at the local level. Using data from 14 major states in India over the period 1960-92, she contrasts voters'behavior in state legislative assembly elections with their behavior in national legislative elections. In state assembly elections voter reward incumbents for local income growth, and punish them for a rise in inequality, over their entire term in office. But in national elections voters behave myopically, rewarding growth in national income and a fall in inflation and inequality only in the year preceding the election. The evidence is consistent with greater voter vigilance and government accountability in local than in national elections.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2557.

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Date of creation: 28 Feb 2001
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2557

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Keywords: National Governance; Election Systems; Economic Theory&Research; Parliamentary Government; Politics and Government;

References

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  1. Besley, Timothy J. & Coate, Stephen, 2000. "Centralized versus Decentralized Provision of Local Public Goods: a Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 2495, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Stigler, George J, 1973. "General Economic Conditions and National Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 160-67, May.
  3. Sen, K. & Vaidya, R.R., 1994. "Political Budget Cycles in India," Papers 104, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research-.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lankina, Tomila, 2008. "Cross-Cutting Literature Review on the Drivers of Local Council Accountability and Performance," MPRA Paper 12408, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Singh, Nirvikar, 2007. "Fiscal Federalism and Decentralization in India," MPRA Paper 1447, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Cole, Shawn & Healy, Andrew & Werker, Eric, 2012. "Do voters demand responsive governments? Evidence from Indian disaster relief," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 167-181.
  4. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2001. "Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a India-Wide Randomized Policy Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Oto-Peralías, Daniel & Romero-Ávila, Diego & Usabiaga, Carlos, 2013. "Does fiscal decentralization mitigate the adverse effects of corruption on public deficits?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 205-231.
  6. Khemani, Stuti, 2003. "Partisan politics and intergovernmental transfers in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3016, The World Bank.
  7. Khemani, Stuti, 2004. "Political cycles in a developing economy: effect of elections in the Indian States," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 125-154, February.
  8. Deepa Narayan & Lant Pritchett & Soumya Kapoor, 2009. "Moving Out of Poverty : Volume 2. Success from the Bottom Up," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11838.
  9. Singh, Nirvikar, 2008. "Holding India together: The role of institutions of federalism," MPRA Paper 12432, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Singh, Nirvikar, 2007. "Fiscal Federalism and Decentralization in India∗," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt11b543tk, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  11. Ahmad, Junaid & Devarajan, Shantayanan & Khemani, Stuti & Shah, Shekhar, 2005. "Decentralization and service delivery," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3603, The World Bank.
  12. Casey, Katherine, 2012. "Crossing Party Lines: The Effects of Information on Redistributive Politics," Research Papers 2099, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.

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