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Political Clientelism and Capture: Theory and Evidence from West Bengal, India

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  • Dilip Mookherjee
  • Pranab K. Bardhan

Abstract

We provide a theory of political clientelism, which explains sources and determinants of political clientelism, the relationship between clientelism and elite capture, and their respective consequences for allocation of public services, welfare, and empirical measurement of government accountability in service delivery. Using data from household surveys in rural West Bengal, we argue that the model helps explain observed impacts of political reservations in local governments that are difficult to reconcile with standard models of redistributive politics.

Suggested Citation

  • Dilip Mookherjee & Pranab K. Bardhan, 2012. "Political Clientelism and Capture: Theory and Evidence from West Bengal, India," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2012-097, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp-2012-097
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    7. Khemani, Stuti, 2015. "Buying votes versus supplying public services: Political incentives to under-invest in pro-poor policies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 84-93.
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    12. Chau, Nancy H. & Liu, Yanyan & Soundararajan, Vidhya, 2021. "Political activism as a determinant of strategic transfers: Evidence from an indian public works program," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
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