The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India

48 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2001

See all articles by Timothy J. Besley

Timothy J. Besley

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Robin Burgess

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2001

Abstract

The determinants of government responsiveness to its citizens is a key issue in political economy. Here we develop a model based on the solution of political agency problems. Having a more informed and politically active electorate strengthens incentives for governments to be responsive. This suggests that there is a role both for democratic institutions and the mass media in ensuring that the preferences of citizens are reflected in policy. The ideas behind the model are tested on panel data from India. We show that public food distribution and calamity relief expenditure are greater, controlling for shocks, where governments face greater electoral accountability and where newspaper circulation is highest.

Keywords: Disaster relief, government responsiveness, mass media, newspapers, political accountability, political agency, political economy, public food distribution, social protection

JEL Classification: 012, D72, H11, H41, I38, P26

Suggested Citation

Besley, Timothy J. and Burgess, Robin, The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India (March 2001). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=264443

Timothy J. Besley (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Robin Burgess

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://econ.lse.ac.uk/staff/rburgess/index_own.html

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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