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The Political Economy Of Government Responsiveness: Theory And Evidence From India

  • Timothy Besley
  • Robin Burgess

The determinants of government responsiveness to its citizens are a key issue in political economy. Here, we develop a model based on the solution of political agency problems. Having a more informed and politically active electorate strengthens incentives for governments to be responsive. This suggests that there is a role for both democratic institutions and mass media in ensuring that the preferences of citizens are reflected in policy. The ideas behind the model are tested on panel data from India. We show that state governments are more responsive to falls in food production and crop flood damage via public food distribution and calamity relief expenditure where newspaper circulation is higher and electoral accountability greater. © 2001 the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 117 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1415-1451

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:4:p:1415-1451
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  1. Eliana La Ferrara, . "Inequality and Group Participation: Theory and Evidence from Rural Tanzania," Working Papers 161, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Miguel, Edward A., 2001. "Ethnic Diversity and School Funding in Kenya," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt0101m00c, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods And Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284, November.
  4. Narayan, Deepa & Pritchett, Lant, 1999. "Cents and Sociability: Household Income and Social Capital in Rural Tanzania," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(4), pages 871-97, July.
  5. Stephen Coate & Timothy Besley, 2000. "Elected versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 1998. "Land Reform, Poverty Reduction and Growth: Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 13, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  7. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1993. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," NBER Working Papers 4575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221, February.
  9. Ahluwalia, Deepak, 1993. "Public distribution of food in India : Coverage, targeting and leakages," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 33-54, February.
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