Independent Candidates and Political Representation in India
63 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2017 Last revised: 19 Feb 2018
Date Written: January 15, 2018
We estimate the causal effect of independent candidates on voter turnout and election outcomes in India. To do this, we exploit exogenous changes in the entry deposit candidates pay for their participation in the political process, changes that disproportionately excluded candidates with no affiliation to established political parties. A one standard deviation increase in the number of independent candidates increases voter turnout by 5-6 percentage points, as some voters choose to vote rather than stay home. The vote share of independent candidates increases by 9-10 percentage points, as some existing voters switch who they vote for. Thus, independents allow winning candidates to win with less vote share, decrease the probability of electing a candidate from the governing coalition by about 27-30 percentage points, and ultimately increase the probability of electing an ethnic-party candidate. Altogether the results imply that the price of participation by independents is constituency representation in government.
Keywords: Electoral Institutions, Independent Candidates, Voter Turnout, Political Representation, Ethnic Parties
JEL Classification: D72, D80
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation