Technological Change and Political Turnover: The Democratizing Effects of the Green Revolution in India

56 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2017 Last revised: 29 Apr 2018

See all articles by Aditya Dasgupta

Aditya Dasgupta

University of California, Merced

Date Written: March 10, 2017

Abstract

Can technological change contribute to political turnover? Influential theories suggest that technological change represents a form of creative destruction that can weaken incumbents and strengthen outsiders, leading to political turnover. This paper investigates a large-scale historical natural experiment: the impact of the green revolution on single-party dominance in India. Drawing on a theoretical framework based on models of contests, this paper argues that high-yielding variety (HYV) crops strengthened the incentives and capacity of a politically excluded group, in this case agricultural producers, to seek greater political representation. Exploiting the timing of the introduction of HYV crops, together with district-level variation in suitability for the new crop technology, instrumental variables analyses show that the green revolution played a pivotal role in the rise of agrarian opposition parties and decline of single-party dominance. The findings support theories linking technological change to political turnover, with important implications for the political economy of democratization.

Keywords: Democratization, Technological Change, Political Economy of Development

Suggested Citation

Dasgupta, Aditya, Technological Change and Political Turnover: The Democratizing Effects of the Green Revolution in India (March 10, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2931182 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2931182

Aditya Dasgupta (Contact Author)

University of California, Merced ( email )

P.O. Box 2039
Merced, CA 95344
United States

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