When do Legislators pass on"Pork"? the determinants of legislator utilization of a constituency development fund in India
The authors examine a unique public spending program that is proliferating across developing countries, the constituency development fund, to investigate when legislators exert more effort on behalf of their constituents. Using data from India, they find that legislator effort is significantly lower in constituencies where voters are more attached to political parties. They are also lower in constituencies that are reserved for members of socially disadvantaged groups (lower castes), specifically in those reserved constituencies that are candidate strongholds. This result is robust to controls for alternate explanations and implies that legislators pass on pork when voters are more attached to political parties or influenced by identity issues. These findings have implications for the evaluation of constituency development funds. They also provide a new answer to a central issue in political economy, the conditions under which legislators seek to"bring home the pork"to constituents, that attaches great importance to the role of political parties.
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