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Minority representation and policy choices: the significance of legislator identity

Pande, Rohini (1999) Minority representation and policy choices: the significance of legislator identity. DEDPS, 16. Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

Disadvantaged groups tend also to constitute population minorities. One consequence of this is that the policies implemented by electorally accountable governments often fail to reflect minority interests. A policy solution is to enhance the political power of minority groups as a vehicle for promoting their policy interests. This paper analyzes the success of an electoral law, which does so by reserving seats for minority groups in legislatures, in promoting minority interests. The paper develops a theoretical model of the political process to analyze the policy impact of such a law. The key theoretical assumption, that candidates cannot commit to policies, implies that identity is relevant to policy choices. The analysis identifies economic reasons why this may lead parties to never field minority candidates. In such cases the model predicts that an electoral law of political reservation will influence policies. The paper takes advantage of the existence of such a law in India to test this prediction empirically. The principal finding is that minority representation has increased transfers to minorities. This suggests that political representation is central to the design of strategies that aim at promoting minority interests. More generally, the results indicate that legislator identity influences policies, and provide some support for the contention that politicians cannot fully commit to policies.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk
Additional Information: © 1999 Rohini Pande
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: H - Public Economics > H7 - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations > H79 - Other
D - Microeconomics > D7 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making > D72 - Economic Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J7 - Labor Discrimination > J78 - Public Policy
C - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods > C2 - Econometric Methods: Single Equation Models; Single Variables > C23 - Models with Panel Data
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O10 - General
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: 16
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2008 12:22
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/6670/

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