Researching the politics of development



Is partisan alignment electorally rewarding? Evidence from village council elections in India

Working paper 63

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Subhasish Dey and Kunal Sen
Do ruling parties positively discriminate in favour of their own constituencies in allocating public resources? If they do, do they gain electorally in engaging in such a practice? This paper tests whether partisan alignment exists in the allocation of funds for India’s largest social protection programme, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in the state of West Bengal, and whether incumbent local governments (village councils) gain electorally in the practice of partisan alignment. Using a quasi-experimental research design, we find that the village council-level ruling party spends significantly more in its own party constituencies than in opponent constituencies. We also find strong evidence of electoral rewards in the practice of partisan alignment. However, we find that the results differ between the two main ruling political parties at the village council level in the state.