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Determinants of Redistributive Politics: An Empirical Analysis of Land Reforms in West Bengal, India

  • Pranab Bardhan
  • Dilip Mookherjee

We investigate political determinants of land reform implementation in the Indian state of West Bengal. Using a village panel spanning 1974-1998, we do not find evidence supporting the hypothesis that land reforms were positively and monotonically related to control of local governments by a Left Front coalition vis-�-vis the right-centrist Congress party, combined with lack of commitment to policy platforms. Instead, the evidence is consistent with a quasi-Downsian theory stressing the role of opportunism (reelection concerns) and electoral competition. (JEL D72, O13, O17, Q15)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.100.4.1572
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 100 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 1572-1600

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:4:p:1572-1600
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.100.4.1572
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  1. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  2. 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.
  3. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W., 1993. "A model of political equilibrium in a representative democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 195-209, June.
  5. Bardhan, Pranab K, 1973. "Size, Productivity, and Returns to Scale: An Analysis of Farm-Level Data in Indian Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(6), pages 1370-86, Nov.-Dec..
  6. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Paul J. Gertler & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2002. "Empowerment and Efficiency: Tenancy Reform in West Bengal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 239-280, April.
  7. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
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