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The Political Economy of Elite Dominance and Ethnic


  • Sarmistha Pal

    (Department of Economics & Finance, Brunel University)

  • Sugata Ghosh

    (Department of Economics & Finance, Brunel University)


Despite more than four decades of planning efforts with an emphasis on balanced regional development, inter- and intra-state disparities in key indicators of quality of life in India are striking. Using Indian state- level data for the period 1960-92, the present paper examines the nature of political economy of elite dominance and ethnic heterogeneity, both of which could in principle be responsibel for lower the provision of public services. Fixed–effects panel data estimates seem to confirm that (a) greater degree of elite dominance lowers the spending on education (but not that on health) while greater degree of ethnic heterogeneity lowers spending on both health and education. (b) Also, predominance of Indian National Congress regime has been higher in states with greater dominance of elite upper class and ethnic heterogeneity. Thus there is a close correspondence between political regimes and social development spending in the sample states though there is a clear lack of convergence in state spending on health and education suggesting the divergent agenda of the state governments in India.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarmistha Pal & Sugata Ghosh, 2005. "The Political Economy of Elite Dominance and Ethnic," Public Economics 0509010, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0509010
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 32

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Abhijit Banerjee & Angus Deaton & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Wealth, Health, and Health Services in Rural Rajasthan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 326-330, May.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, and Growth in Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199.
    3. Alberto Alesina, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-Party System as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 651-678.
    4. Banerjee, Abhijit & Somanathan, Rohini, 2007. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 287-314, March.
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    More about this item


    Social development; Minority groups; Elite dominance; Ethnic heterogeneity.;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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