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The Efficacy of Parochial Politics: Caste, Commitment, and Competence in Indian Local Governments

Author

Listed:
  • Kaivan Munshi

    (Brown University)

  • Mark Rosenzweig

    (Yale University)

Abstract

Parochial politics is typically associated with poor leadership and low levels of public good provision. This paper explores the possibility that community involvement in politics need not necessarily worsen governance and, indeed, can be efficiency enhancing when the context is appropriate. Complementing the new literature on the role of community networks in solving market problems, we test the hypothesis that strong traditional social institutions can discipline the leaders they put forward, successfully substituting for secular political institutions when they are ineffective. Using new data on Indian local governments at the ward level over multiple terms, and exploiting the randomized election reservation system, we find that the presence of a numerically dominant sub caste (caste equilibrium) is associated with the selection of leaders with superior observed characteristics and with greater public good provision. This improvement in leadership competence occurs without apparently diminishing leaders' responsiveness to their constituency.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaivan Munshi & Mark Rosenzweig, 2008. "The Efficacy of Parochial Politics: Caste, Commitment, and Competence in Indian Local Governments," Working Papers 964, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:964
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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp964.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew D. Foster & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2022. "Democratization, Elite Capture and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 29797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Elizabeth Kaletski & Nishith Prakash, 2016. "Affirmative action policy in developing countries: Lessons learned and a way forward," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2016-52, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Monojit Chatterji & Sushil Mohan & Sayantan Ghosh Dastidar, 2015. "Determinants of public education expenditure: evidence from Indian states," International Journal of Education Economics and Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(1), pages 1-19.
    4. Baird, Sarah & McIntosh, Craig & Özler, Berk, 2013. "The regressive demands of demand-driven development," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 27-41.
    5. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2008. "Motivating Politicians: The Impacts of Monetary Incentives on Quality and Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 3411, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Lori Beaman & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo & Rohini Pande & Petia Topalova, 2009. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1497-1540.
    7. Gregory Pierce, 2020. "How collectively organised residents in marginalised urban settlements secure multiple basic service enhancements: Evidence from Hyderabad, India," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 57(9), pages 1940-1956, July.
    8. Kaivan Munshi & Mark Rosenzweig, 2013. "Networks, Commitment, and Competence: Caste in Indian Local Politics," NBER Working Papers 19197, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Anirban Mitra, 2018. "Mandated Political Representation and Redistribution," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 85(338), pages 266-280, April.
    10. Palaniswamy, Nethra, 2010. "Sarpanch raj: is the President all powerful?," IFPRI discussion papers 972, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    11. Andrzej Kwiatkowski, 2013. "Education investment effects of affirmative action policy. Contest game argument," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 279, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
    12. Raghbendra Jha & Hari Nagarajan & Kailash C.Pradhan, 2013. "The role of bribes in rural governance: The case of India," ASARC Working Papers 2013-03, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
    13. Raghbendra Jha & Hari K. Nagarajan & Kailash C. Pradhan, 2011. "Aligning With One's Own: Private Voting and Public Outcomes in Elections in Rural India," ASARC Working Papers 2011-09, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
    14. Elizabeth Kaletski & Nishith Prakash, 2016. "Affirmative action policy in developing countries: Lessons learned and a way forward," WIDER Working Paper Series 052, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    politics; commitment; governance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H44 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Goods: Mixed Markets
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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