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The Allocation of Publicly-Provided Goods to Rural Households in India: On Some Consequences of Caste, Religion and Democracy


  • Betancourt, Roger
  • Gleason, Suzanne


In this study we address the following question-- what determines the allocation of publicly-provided goods to rural households in India? Our paper is empirically driven but we draw on the characteristics of India's institutional structure and the implications of existing literature for framing the answer to this question. We confront the main empirical implications drawn from this frame of reference with a unique data set for India which brings together the widely used district data with a recently constructed data set on political participation. Our empirical results identify four important determinants of the outcomes of this allocation process: formal and informal characteristics of each state allocation mechanism, selectivity in the allocations against Muslims and scheduled castes; bureaucratic rules and behavior; and characteristics of the electoral participation process.
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  • Betancourt, Roger & Gleason, Suzanne, 2000. "The Allocation of Publicly-Provided Goods to Rural Households in India: On Some Consequences of Caste, Religion and Democracy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2169-2182, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:28:y:2000:i:12:p:2169-2182

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1988. "Labor markets in low-income countries," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 713-762 Elsevier.
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    3. Yifu Lin, Justin & Nugent, Jeffrey B., 1995. "Institutions and economic development," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2301-2370 Elsevier.
    4. Yingyi Qian & Barry R. Weingast, 1997. "Federalism as a Commitment to Reserving Market Incentives," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 83-92, Fall.
    5. Davoodi, Hamid & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Study," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 244-257, March.
    6. Bruno Frey, 1971. "Why do high income people participate more in politics?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 101-105, September.
    7. Zhang, Tao & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 221-240, February.
    8. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119, June.
    9. Huther, Jeff & Shah, Anwar, 1998. "Applying a simple measure of good governance to the debate on fiscal decentralization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1894, The World Bank.
    10. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
    11. Kollman, Ken & Miller, John H & Page, Scott E, 1997. "Political Institutions and Sorting in a Tiebout Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 977-992, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mwangi S. Kimenyi, 2006. "Ethnicity, Governance and the Provision of Public Goods," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(1), pages 62-99, April.
    2. Sarmistha Pal & Sugata Ghosh, 2006. "Elite Dominance and Under-investment in Mass Education: Disparity in the Social Development of the Indian States, 1960-92," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 06-05, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
    3. Pal, Sarmistha & Ghosh, Sugata, 2008. "The Elite and the Marginalised: An Analysis of Public Spending on Mass Education in the Indian States," IZA Discussion Papers 3707, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Patricia Justino, 2003. "Redistribution, Inequality and Political Conflict," PRUS Working Papers 18, Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex.
    5. Aysan, Ahmet Faruk, 2005. "The Shadowing Role of Redistributive Institutions in the Relationship Between Income Inequality and Redistribution," MPRA Paper 17772, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Subham Kailthya & Uma Kambhampati, 2016. "Political Economy of Healthcare Provision: Evidence from India," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2016-05, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    7. M. Niaz Asadullah & Uma Kambhampati & Florencia Lopez Boo, 2014. "Social divisions in school participation and attainment in India: 1983–2004," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(4), pages 869-893.
    8. Aysan, Ahmet Faruk, 2005. "The Role of Efficiency of Redistributive Institutions on Redistribution: An Empirical Assessment," MPRA Paper 17773, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. repec:eee:enepol:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:278-287 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Joan Costa-Font & Divya Parmar, 2016. "Political agency and public healthcare: Evidence from India," WIDER Working Paper Series 135, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    11. Tugrul Gurgur, 2016. "Voice, exit and local capture in public provision of private goods," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 397-424, November.
    12. Crost, Benjamin & Kambhampati, Uma S., 2010. "Political Market Characteristics and the Provision of Educational Infrastructure in North India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 195-204, February.
    13. Nisreen Salti & Jad Chaaban, 2012. "The political economy of attracting public funds: the case of Lebanon," International Journal of Development and Conflict, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, vol. 2(1), pages 1250001-125.
    14. Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak & Andrew Sunil Rajkumar & Maureen Cropper, 2011. "The Political Economy of Health Services Provision in Brazil," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 723-751.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East


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