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Pro-Poor Targeting and Accountability of Local Governments in West Bengal

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  • Pranab Bardhan
  • Dilip Mookherjee

Abstract

A commonly alleged pitfall of decentralization is that poverty, socio-economic inequality and lack of political competition allow local elites to capture local governments. This hypothesis is empirically examined using a longitudinal sample of 80 West Bengal villages concerning targeting of credit, agricultural input kits, employment programs and fiscal grants spanning the period 1978-98. Higher poverty, land inequality and low caste composition of the poor was associated with negligible adverse effects on targeting of private goods to the poor within villages, but with lower employment generation out of allotted funds, and significantly lower allocation of resources to the village as a whole. Political competition or literacy levels among the poor were not systematically related to targeting. [BREAD Working Paper No. 105, November 2005]

Suggested Citation

  • Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Pro-Poor Targeting and Accountability of Local Governments in West Bengal," Working Papers id:773, eSocialSciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:773
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Crook,Richard C. & Manor,James, 1998. "Democracy and Decentralisation in South Asia and West Africa," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521636476, October.
    2. Ravallion, Martin & Van der Walle, Dominique, 2003. "Land allocation in Vietnam's agrarian transition," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2951, The World Bank.
    3. Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
    4. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin, 2000. "Distributional outcomes of a decentralized welfare program," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2316, The World Bank.
    5. 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.
    6. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 265-286.
    7. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Decentralisation and Accountability in Infrastructure Delivery in Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 101-127, January.
    8. Crook,Richard C. & Manor,James, 1998. "Democracy and Decentralisation in South Asia and West Africa," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521631570, October.
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