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Decentralization, local government elections and voter turnout in Pakistan:

  • Akramov, Kamiljon T.
  • Qureshi, Sarfraz
  • Birner, Regina
  • Khan, Bilal Hasan

"Decentralization has the potential to improve the accountability of government and lead to a more efficient provision of public services. However, accountability requires broad groups of people to participate in local government. Thus, voter turnout at local government elections is an important component of government accountability. This study used survey data on the 2005 local government elections in Pakistan to analyze the impact of electoral mechanisms, the credibility of elections, and voters' socioeconomic characteristics on voter turnout. The rational-choice perspective is applied to develop the specifications of the empirical model. The empirical analysis is based on a series of standard and multilevel random-intercept logistic models. Our important findings reveal that (1) voter turnout is strongly associated with the personal and social gratifications people derive from voting; (2) the preference-matching ability of candidates for local government positions is marginal; and (3) the introduction of direct elections of the district nazims—a key position in local government—might improve electoral participation and thus create a precondition for better local government accountability. The findings also suggest that less educated people, farmers, and rural people are more likely to vote." Authors' Abstract

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 754.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:754
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  1. Sophia Rabe-Hesketh & Anders Skrondal, 2012. "Multilevel and Longitudinal Modeling Using Stata, 3rd Edition," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, edition 3, number mimus2, December.
  2. Khemani, Stuti, 2004. "Political cycles in a developing economy: effect of elections in the Indian States," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 125-154, February.
  3. Hindriks, Jean & Lockwood, Ben, 2009. "Decentralization and electoral accountability: Incentives, separation and voter welfare," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 385-397, September.
  4. Seabright, Paul, 1996. "Accountability and decentralisation in government: An incomplete contracts model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 61-89, January.
  5. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee (ed.), 2006. "Decentralization and Local Governance in Developing Countries: A Comparative Perspective," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262524546, June.
  6. Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
  7. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
  8. Keefer, Philip, 2004. "What does political economy tell us about economic development - and vice versa?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3250, The World Bank.
  9. Keefer, Philip & Khemani, Stuti, 2003. "Democracy, public expenditures, and the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3164, The World Bank.
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