The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India
30 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2002
The determinants of government responsiveness to its citizens is a key issue in political economy. Here, we develop a model based on the solution of political agency problems. Having a more informed and politically active electorate strengthens incentives for governments to be responsive. This suggests that there is a role for both democratic institutions and mass media in ensuring that the preferences of citizens are reflected in policy. The ideas behind the model are tested on panel data from India. We show that state governments are more responsive to falls in food production and crop flood damage via public food distribution and calamity relief expenditure where newspaper circulation is higher and electoral accountability greater.
JEL Classification: 012, D72, H11, H41, I38, P26
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