Mandated Political Representation and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India
Arka Roy Chaudhuri
Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi
18th August, 2016 (Thursday) at 3:00 PM
Venue : Seminar Room (First Floor)
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics
All are cordially invited
India has a history of various affirmative action policies which include political representation to erstwhile untouchable castes, Scheduled Castes. The paper estimates the causal effect of political quotas of Scheduled Castes in Indian state assemblies on development outcomes of households belonging to their own ethnic group. Specifically I look at how political reservations for these communities in India affect schooling outcomes, health outcomes, access to the food security system, Public Distribution System (PDS) and participation in the workfare program, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) using district level variation in the proportion of reservation. Since there might be omitted variables which determine reservation proportion and are correlated with the outcome variable, I use the policy rule used in the assignment of reservation of constituencies. The Constitution mandates that reservation for Scheduled Castes in proportion to their population shares. Since changes in quotas only happen during a sitting of a special commission, the exact share of reserved constituencies in a state and district depends on the population shares of the last census before the sitting of the commission. This makes it possible for us to control for the present population shares which is crucial since minority population shares might be correlated with development outcomes. I find that for developmental outcomes arising from broad based public goods like primary education, and infant mortality the effect of Scheduled Caste reservation is negative while for narrow based public goods like workfare schemes the effect is positive.