Minority Representation and Protection from Targeted Violence: Evidence from Low-Caste Political Parties in India
65 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2016 Last revised: 25 Jul 2019
Date Written: June 10, 2019
This paper examines whether improving the political voice of historically-marginalized minority groups can reduce human and civil rights abuse. To answer this question, we examine the impact of political parties dedicated to representing India's Scheduled Castes and Tribes (SC/STs) on caste-based violence. We address the endogenous selection of minority-favored politicians using state-level variation in aggregations of close election outcomes. We find that a 10 percentage-point increase in the fraction of SC/ST politicians reduces the incidence of SC/ST-targeted violence by three percentage points. Improved attitudes of SC/ST citizens toward state institutions suggest that our results are not the product of negative reporting bias. Further analysis suggests that the crime reductions are consistent with deterrence induced by politicians influencing the operation of the law enforcement bureaucracy in favor of SC/ST citizens.
Keywords: Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, Immigrants, Political Processes, Criminal Law
JEL Classification: J15, D72, K14
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