Dictatorship and the Provision of Public Goods
29 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2019
Date Written: September 2019
This paper examines the nature and scope of public policy in non-democracies. We use the Partition of the Indian sub-continent in 1947 to examine how similar ethnic groups living in similar agro-climatic conditions - when exposed to different governance regimes - obtain substantially different configurations of public goods. Our methodology draws upon the shifts in the central regime in Pakistan, between popularly elected governments and military dictatorships, with India providing a benchmark with democratic governments throughout. We create and utilise a novel dataset for our district-level analyses from various census rounds in India and Pakistan. Our regression results consistently show that there is a significant under-provision of various public goods under dictatorships, while controlling for a host of time-varying local factors. The effects are statistically significant and economically meaningful for primary, middle and secondary schools and for hospitals and health centres. Our results survive a battery of robustness checks and are particularly, not driven by large cities, or specific provinces.
Keywords: Institutions, Dictatorship, Political Regimes, Public Goods, India, Pakistan
JEL Classification: D12, D72, H40
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