Political Activism as a Determinant of Clientelistic Transfers: Evidence from an Indian Public Works Program

67 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2018

See all articles by Nancy H. Chau

Nancy H. Chau

Cornell University - School of Applied Economics and Management; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Yanyan Liu

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Vidhya Soundararajan

Indian Institute of Management (IIMB), Bangalore

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

Are political activists preferentially targeted by politicians engaging in clientelistic transfers to bolster political support? We provide the first model to highlight two possible rationales for such transfers: to mobilize support from the activists themselves, or to mobilize support from electors these activists have influence over. Using novel household data on ex ante political affiliation and jobs received subsequent to large-scale decentralized workfare program in India, we find that activists are indeed preferentially targeted, and furthermore, such transfers are more pronounced in locations where citizen political involvement is less common, and in remote and less connected areas where activists' role in information transfers is most critical. We argue that the evidence is consistent with the use of transfers to leverage the influence of activists over the decision-making of other electors. Our results are not driven by self selection, reverse causality, and other program transfers, and are robust to alternate definitions of "activism".

Keywords: political clientelism, political activism, NREGS, India

JEL Classification: D7, H5

Suggested Citation

Chau, Nancy H. and Liu, Yanyan and Soundararajan, Vidhya, Political Activism as a Determinant of Clientelistic Transfers: Evidence from an Indian Public Works Program. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11277. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3111150

Nancy H. Chau (Contact Author)

Cornell University - School of Applied Economics and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-4463 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Yanyan Liu

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Vidhya Soundararajan

Indian Institute of Management (IIMB), Bangalore ( email )

Bannerghatta Road
Bangalore, Karnataka 560076
India

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