POLITICAL PARTICIPATION, CLIENTELISM AND TARGETING OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS: Analysis of Survey Results from Rural West Bengal, India
This paper provides evidence concerning political participation (turnout, awareness, attendance at meetings, campaign involvement, voting) and its relation to local governance (targeting of public services) in a developing country, based on a rural household survey in West Bengal, India. With the exception of education and immigrant status, we find that reported participation rates varied remarkably little with socio-economic status. Within villages, benefits disbursed by local governments displayed no relation to wealth, caste, education, gender or political affiliations. In contrast, allocation of benefits across villages by higherlevel governments displayed bias against poor and low caste groups; these biases were larger in villages with more unequal landownership and lower participation rates in village meetings. Political support among voters for the dominant Left party was positively correlated with receipt of recurring benefits and help provided by local governments in times of personal need, but not long-term onetime benefits or local public goods provided.
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