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Democracy and Demography: Societal Effects of Fertility Limits on Local Leaders


  • S. Anukriti
  • Abhishek Chakravarty


We investigate whether restricting elected leadership positions to candidates with “desirable†characteristics leads to the society-wide adoption of those characteristics in a democracy with high political participation. Exploiting quasi-experimental variation in fertility limits imposed on village council members in India to curb population growth, we find that rural couples significantly decreased fertility in response, and child survival improved. However, the limits also increased the already male-biased sex ratio at birth in castes with strong son preference.

Suggested Citation

  • S. Anukriti & Abhishek Chakravarty, 2019. "Democracy and Demography: Societal Effects of Fertility Limits on Local Leaders," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(1), pages 79-121.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:54:y:2019:i:1:p:79-121
    Note: DOI: 10.3368/jhr.54.1.1016.8308R2

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    Cited by:

    1. Lahoti, Rahul & Sahoo, Soham, 2020. "Are educated leaders good for education? Evidence from India," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 42-62.
    2. Prasenjit Banerjee & Vegard Iversen & Sandip Mitra & Antonio Nicolò & Kunal Sen, 2018. "Politicians and Their Promises in an Uncertain World: Evidence from a Lab-in-the-Field Experiment in India," Economics Discussion Paper Series 1806, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    3. Lnu,Anukriti & Erten,Bilge & Mukherjee,Priya, 2022. "Women’s Political Representation and Intimate Partner Violence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 10113, The World Bank.
    4. Prasenjit Banerjee & Vegard Iversen & Sandip Mitra & Antonio Nicolò & Kunal Sen, 2020. "Moral reputation and political selection in a decentralized democracy: Theory and evidence from India," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2020-26, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Bidisha Mandal & Wenjun Wu, 2023. "Examining the effects of a two-child policy in rural India," Journal of Population Research, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 1-20, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development


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