Minority Representation and Policy Choices: The Significance of Legislator Identity
Disadvantaged groups tend also to constitute population minorities. One consequence of this is that the policies implemented by electorally accountable governments often fail to reflect minority interests. A policy solution is to enhance the political power of minority groups as a vehicle for promoting their policy interests. This paper analyzes the success of an electoral law, which does so by reserving seats for minority groups in legislatures, in promoting minority interests. The paper develops a theoretical model of the political process to analyze the policy impact of such a law. The key theoretical assumption, that candidates cannot commit to policies, implies that identity is relevant to policy choices. The analysis identifies economic reasons why this may lead parties to never field minority candidates. In such cases the model predicts that an electoral law of political reservation will influence policies. The paper takes advantage of the existence of such a law in India to test this prediction empirically. The principal finding is that minority representation has increased transfers to minorities. This suggests that political representation is central to the design of strategies that aim at promoting minority interests. More generally, the results indicate that legislator identity influences policies, and provide some support for the contention that politicians cannot fully commit to policies.
|Date of creation:||Jun 1999|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cep:stidep:16. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.