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Just rewards? Local politics and public resource allocation in South India

  • Timothy Besley
  • Rohini Pande
  • Vijayendra Rao

This paper uses data on elected village councils in South India to examine the political economy of public resource allocation. We find that the pattern of policy-making reflects politicians' self-interest. Elected councillors benefit from improved personal access to public resources. In addition, the head councillor's group identity and residence influences public resource allocation. While electoral incentives do not eliminate politician opportunism, voters appear able to use their electoral clout to gain greater access to public resources.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/3763/
File Function: Open access version.
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 3763.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:3763
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  1. Markus Goldstein & Christopher Udry, 2005. "The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana," Working Papers 929, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  2. John A. List & Daniel M. Sturm, 2004. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," NBER Working Papers 10609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Dilip Mookherjee & Pranab K. Bardhan, 2000. "Capture and Governance at Local and National Levels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 135-139, May.
  4. Benjamin Olken, 2006. "Corruption perceptions vs. corruption reality," Natural Field Experiments 00318, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
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  8. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1993. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," NBER Working Papers 4575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  10. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  11. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Vijayendra Rao, 2005. "Participatory Democracy in Action: Survey Evidence from South India," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 648-657, 04/05.
  12. Faguet, Jean-Paul, 2004. "Does decentralization increase government responsiveness to local needs?: Evidence from Bolivia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 867-893, March.
  13. Ruben Enikolopov & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2006. "Decentralization and Political Institutions," Working Papers w0065, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  14. Bradbury, John Charles & Stephenson, E Frank, 2003. " Local Government Structure and Public Expenditures," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 115(1-2), pages 185-98, April.
  15. Pande, Rohini, 2007. "Understanding Political Corruption in Low Income Countries," Working Paper Series rwp07-020, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  16. Jeffrey R Kling & Jeffrey B Liebman & Lawrence F Katz, 2007. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 83-119, 01.
  17. Reza Baqir, 2002. "Districting and Government Overspending," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1318-1354, December.
  18. Radu Ban & Vijayendra Rao, 2008. "Tokenism or Agency? The Impact of Women’s Reservations on Village Democracies in South India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 501-530.
  19. Esther Duflo & Petia Topalova, 2004. "Unappreciated service: Performance, perceptions, and women leaders in india," Framed Field Experiments 00233, The Field Experiments Website.
  20. Faguet, Jean-Paul, 2001. "Does decentralization increase responsiveness to local needs? - evidence from Bolivia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2516, The World Bank.
  21. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
  22. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Lupin Rahman & Vijayendra Rao, 2004. "The Politics of Public Good Provision: Evidence from Indian Local Governments," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 416-426, 04/05.
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