Political Aspirations in India: Evidence from Fertility Limits on Local Leaders

51 Pages Posted: 11 May 2015

See all articles by S Anukriti

S Anukriti

Boston College; IZA

Abhishek Chakravarty

University of Essex - Department of Economics

Abstract

Despite theoretical advances, measurement issues have impeded empirical research on aspirations. We quantify political aspirations in a developing country by estimating individuals' willingness to trade-off family size for political candidacy. Utilizing quasi-experimental variation in legal fertility limits on village council members in India, we find that at least 2.21% of married couples of childbearing age altered their fertility to remain eligible for council membership. This implies that returns to local leadership in low-income democracies are potentially high. Poorer, less educated, and lower-caste families display strong political aspirations, thereby lowering the extent of elite-capture at the local level of governance.

Keywords: India, Panchayat elections, political aspirations, fertility limits, sex ratios

JEL Classification: J13, J16, H75, O11

Suggested Citation

Anukriti, S and Chakravarty, Abhishek, Political Aspirations in India: Evidence from Fertility Limits on Local Leaders. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9023. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2604386

S Anukriti (Contact Author)

Boston College ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

IZA ( email )

Abhishek Chakravarty

University of Essex - Department of Economics ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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