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Does Political Competition Influence Human Development? Evidence from the Indian States


  • Dash, Bharatee Bhushan

    () (National Institute of Public Finance and Policy)

  • Mukherjee, Sacchidananda

    () (National Institute of Public Finance and Policy)


Recently, it has been argued that political competition may have similar effects on economic performance as market competition. This study empirically examines this proposition by linking political competition with the Human Development Index (HDI) of the Indian states. The findings suggest that politically competitive governments perform well along the HDI. A more detailed analysis also shows that the rural India benefits the most from the intense political competition as compared to urban India. We also found that if the same government rules a state for a relatively longer period, it helps the state in achieving higher HDI score. Increasing voter participation found to be positively associated with HDI score, but this finding is confined to the sample of major Indian states only. Increasing public spending on developmental activities is also found to have a positive and significant effect on HDI performance. These findings are robust to various forms of sensitivity analyses.

Suggested Citation

  • Dash, Bharatee Bhushan & Mukherjee, Sacchidananda, 2013. "Does Political Competition Influence Human Development? Evidence from the Indian States," Working Papers 13/118, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:npf:wpaper:13/118
    Note: Working Paper 118, 2013

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robin Harding & Leonard Wantchekon, 2010. "The Political Economy of Human Development," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2010-29, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
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    12. Vollmer, Sebastian & Ziegler, Maria, 2009. "Political Institutions and Human Development Does Democracy Fulfill its 'Constructive' and 'Instrumental' Role?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4818, The World Bank.
    13. Damania, Richard & Yalcýn, Erkan, 2008. "Corruption and Political Competition," Economics Discussion Papers 2008-7, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    14. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
    15. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, 2005. "A Drawback Of Electoral Competition," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(6), pages 1318-1348, December.
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    Political competition ; Human development ; Indian states;

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