Who has voice in a deliberative democracy? Evidence from transcripts of village parliaments in south India
The role of deliberation among citizens to determine and forge agreement on policy is often seen as a crucial feature of democratic government. This paper provides the first large-N empirical evidence on the credibility of voice in a deliberative democracy in an non-laboratory setting, using a unique dataset collected from transcripts of deliberation that occurred between January and September 2003 in 127 functioning village parliaments (gram sabhas) in Southern India. We exploit a natural experiment in the arrangement of India's state borders across ethnolinguistic lines that led exogenously to increased caste fragmentation and a reduced degree of consensus on public goods priorities. We then examine the patterns of deliberation. We reject the presence of pure cheap talk in both heterogeneous and homogeneous villages. Instead, we show that in caste‐fragmented South Indian villages, where there is less village-wide agreement on the relative importance of different public goods, the probability of an individual's highest priority being discussed increases as the household becomes more credible: its preferences approach the pivotal agent in a pure representative democracy, the median household. These effects are lower in ethnically homogeneous villages where there is greater consensus on the prioritization of public goods. Taken together, our results suggest that India's village parliaments, rather than being mere talking shops or being entirely captured by elites, seem instead to be both democratically representative and to be assigning roles to credible agents in their deliberative processes.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2004.
"Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India,"
Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1409-1443, 09.
- Esther Duflo & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, 2004. "Women as policy makers: Evidence from a randomized policy experiment in india," Framed Field Experiments 00224, The Field Experiments Website.
- Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1994.
"Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information,"
1117, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1997. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1029-1058, September.
- Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1997. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections With Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1560, David K. Levine.
- Gerardi, Dino & Yariv, Leeat, 2007. "Deliberative voting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 317-338, May.
- Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer & Rohini Somanathan, 2005. "History, Social Divisions, and Public Goods in Rural India," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 639-647, 04/05.
- V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010.
"Strategic Information Transmission,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
544, David K. Levine.
- Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Scholarly Articles 4553005, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Mansuri, Ghazala & Rao, Vijayendra, 2004.
"Community-based (and driven) development : A critical review,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
3209, The World Bank.
- Ghazala Mansuri, 2004. "Community-Based and -Driven Development: A Critical Review," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 19(1), pages 1-39.
- Adam Meirowitz, 2007. "In Defense of Exclusionary Deliberation: Communication and Voting with Private Beliefs and Values," Journal of Theoretical Politics, SAGE Publishing, vol. 19(3), pages 301-327, July.
- Ghazala Mansuri & Vijayendra Rao, 2013. "Localizing Development : Does Participation Work?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11859, April.
- 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.
- Keith Krehbiel, 2004. "Legislative Organization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 113-128, Winter.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:99:y:2012:i:2:p:428-438. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.