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Decentralization and accountability : are voters more vigilant in local than in national elections ?

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  • Khemani, Stuti

Abstract

Defining vigilance as retrospective voting - where voters evaluate incumbents on their performance during their entire term in office - the author compares voter behavior in local and national elections to make inferences about whether voters are more vigilant in monitoring government at the local level. Using data from 14 major states in India over the period 1960-92, she contrasts voters'behavior in state legislative assembly elections with their behavior in national legislative elections. In state assembly elections voter reward incumbents for local income growth, and punish them for a rise in inequality, over their entire term in office. But in national elections voters behave myopically, rewarding growth in national income and a fall in inflation and inequality only in the year preceding the election. The evidence is consistent with greater voter vigilance and government accountability in local than in national elections.

Suggested Citation

  • Khemani, Stuti, 2001. "Decentralization and accountability : are voters more vigilant in local than in national elections ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2557, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2557
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1999. "Centralized versus Decentralized Provision of Local Public Goods: A Political Economy Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Stigler, George J, 1973. "General Economic Conditions and National Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 160-167, May.
    3. Sen, K. & Vaidya, R.R., 1994. "Political Budget Cycles in India," Papers 104, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research-.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Junaid Ahmad & Shantayanan Devarajan & Stuti Khemani & Shekhar Shah, 2006. "Decentralization and Service Delivery," Chapters,in: Handbook of Fiscal Federalism, chapter 10 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Khemani, Stuti, 2003. "Partisan politics and intergovernmental transfers in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3016, The World Bank.
    3. Deepa Narayan & Lant Pritchett & Soumya Kapoor, 2009. "Moving Out of Poverty : Volume 2. Success from the Bottom Up," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11838.
    4. Oto-Peralías, Daniel & Romero-Ávila, Diego & Usabiaga, Carlos, 2013. "Does fiscal decentralization mitigate the adverse effects of corruption on public deficits?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 205-231.
    5. repec:ecl:stabus:2099 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Singh, Nirvikar, 2007. "Fiscal Federalism and Decentralization in India," MPRA Paper 1447, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. 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.
    8. Singh, Nirvikar, 2007. "Fiscal Federalism and Decentralization in India∗," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt11b543tk, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
    9. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2001. "Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a India-Wide Randomized Policy Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Lankina, Tomila, 2008. "Cross-Cutting Literature Review on the Drivers of Local Council Accountability and Performance," MPRA Paper 12408, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Cole, Shawn & Healy, Andrew & Werker, Eric, 2012. "Do voters demand responsive governments? Evidence from Indian disaster relief," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 167-181.
    12. Singh, Nirvikar, 2008. "Holding India together: The role of institutions of federalism," MPRA Paper 12432, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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