Political Aspirations in India: Evidence from Fertility Limits on Local Leaders
51 Pages Posted: 11 May 2015
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: Suggested Citation