Does Political Reservation Affect Voting Behavior? Empirical Evidence from India
Using microdata from the National Election Study of the 2004 parliamentary elections in India, we empirically examine the impact of political reservation for disadvantaged castes and tribes on voting behavior. 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. These voters, however, tend to change political party to vote for in reserved constituencies. These findings imply that there is a general acceptance of political reservation in the Indian electoral system.
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