Impact of Reservations of Panchayat Pradhans on Targeting in West Bengal
The effect of randomized reservations of Pradhan (chief executive) positions in West Bengal local governments (panchayats) for women and members of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) following the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments of 1993 are examined. Sample consists of 89 villages spread throughout 15 rural districts of West Bengal, in which we examine effects on targeting to poor and SC/ST households of IRDP credit, agricultural extension programs, employment programs, and budgetary policies. The reservations were associated with improved targeting of the IRDP program, but poorer targeting of employment programs, and lower local revenues raised by the panchayats. Aggregating pecuniary effects of the IRDP and employment programs, the net effect of the reservations appears to have worsened targeting to SC/ST and landless households. The effects of reservations on targeting often became more adverse in villages with greater land inequality and poverty among SC/ST groups. [BREAD Working Paper No. 104, November 2005]
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