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Decentralization and accountability : are voters more vigilant in local than in national elections ?, Volume 1
Author:Khemani, Stuti; Collection Title:Policy, Research working paper ; no. WPS 2557
Country:India; Date Stored:2001/03/26
Document Date:2001/02/28Document Type:Policy Research Working Paper
SubTopics:Election Systems; Economic Theory & Research; National Governance; Parliamentary Government; Politics and GovernmentLanguage:English
Major Sector:Public Administration, Law, and JusticeRegion:South Asia
Report Number:WPS2557Sub Sectors:Decentralization
Volume No:1  

Summary: 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.

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