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Impact of Political Reservations in West Bengal Local Governments on Anti-Poverty Targeting

Author

Listed:
  • Bardhan Pranab K.

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Mookherjee Dilip

    (Boston University)

  • Parra Torrado Monica

    (Fedesarrollo, Bogota, Colombia)

Abstract

Political reservation for disadvantaged groups is believed to be a way of improving targeting of publicly provided goods to those groups. This paper examines the impact of political reservations for women and scheduled castes and tribe (SC/ST) candidates in local governments in West Bengal, India between 1998-2004 on targeting to landless, low caste and female-headed households. It differs from existing literature by differences in geographic coverage, time span, and use of self-reported household benefits across a broad range of programs. Reservation of chief executive (pradhan) positions in local government for women was associated with a significant worsening of within-village targeting to SC/ST households, and no improvement on any other dimension of targeting. Reservation of pradhan posts for SC/ST members was associated with a significant increase in benefits received by the village as a whole, improvement in intra-village targeting to female-headed households, and to the group (SC or ST) of the pradhan. The effects of women's reservations are not consistent with simple citizen-candidate or elite capture models of electoral politics. They are consistent with a more complex hypothesis of capture-cum-clientelism which is weakened by election of politically inexperienced women to reserved pradhan posts.

Suggested Citation

  • Bardhan Pranab K. & Mookherjee Dilip & Parra Torrado Monica, 2010. "Impact of Political Reservations in West Bengal Local Governments on Anti-Poverty Targeting," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-38, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:globdv:v:1:y:2010:i:1:n:5
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bardhan, Pranab & Mookherjee, Dilip, 2006. "Pro-poor targeting and accountability of local governments in West Bengal," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 303-327, April.
    2. Lori Beaman & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo & Rohini Pande & Petia Topalova, 2009. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1497-1540.
    3. Dilip Mookherjee & Pranab K. Bardhan, 2000. "Capture and Governance at Local and National Levels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 135-139, May.
    4. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Vijayendra Rao, 2005. "Political Selection and the Quality of Government: Evidence from South India," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 08, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    5. Rohini Pande, 2003. "Can Mandated Political Representation Increase Policy Influence for Disadvantaged Minorities? Theory and Evidence from India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1132-1151, September.
    6. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Lupin Rahman & Vijayendra Rao, 2004. "The Politics of Public Good Provision: Evidence from Indian Local Governments," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 416-426, 04/05.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:99:y:2005:i:03:p:315-325_05 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2003. "The impact of reservation in the panchayati raj: Evidence from a nationwide randomized experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00223, The Field Experiments Website.
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