Does Good Economics Make for Good Politics? Evidence from Indian States

India Review 14, no. 3 (September 2015): 279-311.

71 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2015

See all articles by Milan Vaishnav

Milan Vaishnav

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Reedy Swanson

University of Virginia - School of Law, Alumnus or Degree Candidate Author

Date Written: September 1, 2015

Abstract

The proposition that voters reward incumbent governments that perform well economically is considered received wisdom in many democracies. We examine this hypothesis in India, a developing democracy where scholars have found limited evidence of economic voting. Using a unique state-level panel dataset covering the years 1980-2012, we find that there is no relationship between growth and electoral performance in the aggregate. However, since 2000, there do appear to be increasing electoral returns to governments that deliver higher rates of economic growth. The positive returns to growth are much larger than those to improved law and order, while inflation has no clear impact. The results suggest a significant shift in Indian voter behavior.

Keywords: economic voting, voter behavior, elections, India

JEL Classification: D72, P16

Suggested Citation

Vaishnav, Milan and Swanson, Reedy, Does Good Economics Make for Good Politics? Evidence from Indian States (September 1, 2015). India Review 14, no. 3 (September 2015): 279-311., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2685267 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2685267

Milan Vaishnav (Contact Author)

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace ( email )

1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

HOME PAGE: http://milanvaishnav.com

Reedy Swanson

University of Virginia - School of Law, Alumnus or Degree Candidate Author ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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