Politics and public goods in developing countries

Evidence from the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi

David Blakeslee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This paper employs an instrumental variables strategy to identify the effect of party ideology on policy outcomes. Exogenous variation in party representation is generated by the assassination of the leader of the Congress party, which occurred midway through India's national elections in 1991, and dramatically increased the probability of Congress victory for a subset of constituencies. Representation by the Congress party leads to a substantial increase in the provision of public goods favored by the poor, consistent with the party's expressed populist agenda. Among the salient changes are increases in the availability of drinking water and primary education, and declines in agricultural and industrial electrification and telephone coverage. I compare these effects to those obtained using a regression discontinuity design, and find that the latter yields little effect of Congress representation on public goods allocations.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1-19
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Public Economics
    Volume163
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

    Fingerprint

    Developing countries
    India
    Regression discontinuity design
    Agenda
    Ideology
    Drinking water
    Instrumental variables
    Elections
    Primary education
    Telephone

    Keywords

    • India
    • Political economy
    • Public goods

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Finance
    • Economics and Econometrics

    Cite this

    Politics and public goods in developing countries : Evidence from the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. / Blakeslee, David.

    In: Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 163, 01.07.2018, p. 1-19.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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