Political Competition, Welfare Outcomes and Expenditures on Human Development: The Experience of a Democracy
There is a growing literature on the effect of electoral competition and democratic participation on issues such as corruption and government policy. The theoretical and empirical literature suggests that electoral competition has a beneficial impact on policies. This paper studies the effects of political competition and democratic participation on welfare outcomes. We develop a model to assess the effects of electoral competition on human developmental outcomes and empirically test the key predictions using data on infant mortality rates (IMR) in India. The empirical results provide strong support for the theoretical conjectures, which suggest that high electoral competition and high citizen participation in elections can explain much of the variation in IMR across different states in a democratic country like India.
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