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POLITICAL PARTICIPATION, CLIENTELISM AND TARGETING OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS: Analysis of Survey Results from Rural West Bengal, India

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  • Pranab Bardhan

    () (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Sandip Mitra

    () (Jadavpur University)

  • Dilip Mookherjee

    () (Institute for Economic Development, Boston University)

  • Abhirup Sarkar

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Pranab Bardhan & Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Abhirup Sarkar, 2008. "POLITICAL PARTICIPATION, CLIENTELISM AND TARGETING OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS: Analysis of Survey Results from Rural West Bengal, India," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-171, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bos:iedwpr:dp-171
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    Cited by:

    1. Ivar Kolstad & Arne Wiig & Vincent Somville, 2014. "Devolutionary delusions? The effect of decentralization on corruption," CMI Working Papers 10, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway.
    2. Sheahan, Megan & Liu, Yanyan & Barrett, Christopher B. & Narayanan, Sudha, 2014. "The political economy of MGNREGS spending in Andhra Pradesh:," IFPRI discussion papers 1371, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Platteau, Jean-Philippe & Somville, Vincent & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2014. "Elite capture through information distortion: A theoretical essay," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 250-263.
    4. Dwayne Benjamin & Loren Brandt & John Giles, 2011. "Did Higher Inequality Impede Growth in Rural China?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(557), pages 1281-1309, December.
    5. de Janvry, Alain & Gonzalez-Navarro, Marco & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2014. "Are land reforms granting complete property rights politically risky? Electoral outcomes of Mexico's certification program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 216-225.
    6. Pellicer, Miquel & Wegner, Eva, 2013. "Electoral Rules and Clientelistic Parties: A Regression Discontinuity Approach," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 8(4), pages 339-371, October.
    7. Ghosh, Sugata & Mitra, Anirban, 2016. "Ethnic Diversity, Public Spending and Political Regimes," MPRA Paper 75546, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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