Does Political Reservation Affect Voting Behavior? Empirical Evidence from India
This paper empirically examines the impact of political reservation for disadvantaged groups on voting behavior. Using microdata from the National Election Study of the 2004 parliamentary elections in India, we find that in a reserved constituency, where only members of the disadvantaged castes can stand for election, voters of the disadvantaged castes are encouraged to vote. On the other hand, the system of constituency reservation does not have any impact on the turnout of voters belonging to other groups, including relatively upper caste voters. This finding suggests that political reservation does not crowd out the electoral participation of other groups. These voters, however, tend to vote for the right-wing political party in reserved constituencies. This implies a possibility that the political reservation might provoke a social cleavage along castes in Indian politics.
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