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Pro-Poor Targeting and Accountability of Local Governments in West Bengal

  • Pranab Bardhan

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Dilip Mookherjee

    ()

    (Institute for Economic Development, Boston University)

A commonly alleged pitfall of decentralization is that poverty, socio-economic inequality and lack of political competition allow local elites to capture local governments. This hypothesis is empirically examined using a longitudinal sample of 80 West Bengal villages concerning targeting of credit, agricultural input kits, employment programs and fiscal grants spanning the period 1978-98. Higher poverty, land inequality and low caste composition of the poor was associated with negligible adverse effects on targeting of private goods to the poor within villages, but with lower employment generation out of allotted funds, and significantly lower allocation of resources to the village as a whole. Political competition or literacy levels among the poor were not systematically related to targeting. [BREAD Working Paper No. 105, November 2005]

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Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series with number dp-138.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:iedwpr:dp-138
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  1. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 265-86, April.
  2. Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
  3. Ravallion, Martin & Van der Walle, Dominique, 2003. "Land allocation in Vietnam's agrarian transition," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2951, The World Bank.
  4. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Decentralisation and Accountability in Infrastructure Delivery in Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 101-127, 01.
  5. 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.
  6. Faguet, Jean-Paul, 2014. "Decentralization and Governance," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 2-13.
  7. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin, 2000. "Distributional outcomes of a decentralized welfare program," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2316, The World Bank.
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