A new GLO Discussion Paper finds that local politicians in India systematically misallocate resources based on party loyalty and successfully deliver votes to their national co-partisans.
GLO Discussion Paper No. 916, 2021
916 The Workforce of Clientelism: The Case of Local Officials in the Party Machine – Download PDF
by Shenoy, Ajay & Zimmermann, Laura V.
GLO Fellow Laura V. Zimmermann
Author Abstract: Local politicians can function as crucial intermediaries between voters and party bosses in a clientelistic network. We study their role by matching data on 300 million welfare payments in the Indian state of West Bengal to village-level election returns. Local politicians systematically misallocate resources based on party loyalty and successfully deliver votes to their national co-partisans. Politicians are compensated for successful mobilization through a performance bonus immediately after the national election. The (promise of) increased compensation from government funds induces opposition candidates to switch to the ruling party in strategically important local councils, bringing them under its control.
Laura V. Zimmermann has a joint appointment as Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and in the Department of International Affairs at the University of Georgia. She recently presented her research on gender bias and policy in India summarized in GLO Discussion Paper No. 888 at the Fourth IESR-GLO Conference. Video of presentation: LINK
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