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Can mandated political representation increase policy influence for disadvantaged minorities? Theory and evidence from India

  • Rohini Pande

    ()

    (Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government)

A basic premise of representative democracy is that every person subject to policy should have a voice in its making. However, policies enacted by electorally accountable governments often fail to reflect the interests of disadvantaged minorities. This paper uses political reservation in India to examine the role of mandated political representation in providing such groups policy influence. The Indian constitution mandates political reservation for disadvantaged castes and tribes in state elections ¨C only members of these groups can stand for election in reserved jurisdictions. I find that political reservation in Indian states has increased targeted transfers to groups which benefit from the mandate. This finding underlines the importance of political representation in providing disadvantaged minorities political voice. It also suggests that complete policy commitment may be absent in democracies, as is found in this case.

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Paper provided by Columbia University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0102-62.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clu:wpaper:0102-62
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  1. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages F672-94, November.
  2. Levitt, Steven D, 1996. "How Do Senators Vote? Disentangling the Role of Voter Preferences, Party Affiliation, and Senate Ideology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 425-41, June.
  3. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
  4. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "Land Reform, Poverty Reduction, And Growth: Evidence From India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 389-430, May.
  5. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2001. "Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a India-Wide Randomized Policy Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Rohini Pande, 1999. "Minority Representation and Policy Choices: The Significance of Legislator Identity," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 16, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  7. Harry Holzer & David Neumark, 1999. "Assessing Affirmative Action," NBER Working Papers 7323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1984. "Capture and Ideology in the Economic Theory of Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 279-300, June.
  9. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  10. Lena Edlund & Rohini Pande, 2002. "Why Have Women Become Left-Wing? The Political Gender Gap And The Decline In Marriage," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 917-961, August.
  11. Husted, Thomas A & Kenny, Lawrence W, 1997. "The Effect of the Expansion of the Voting Franchise on the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 54-82, February.
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