Dictatorship and the Provision of Public Goods

29 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2019 Last revised: 7 Jan 2020

See all articles by T. M. Tonmoy Islam

T. M. Tonmoy Islam

Elon University

Anirban Mitra

University of Kent

Shabana Mitra

Shiv Nadar University

Date Written: January 6, 2020


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

Suggested Citation

Islam, T. M. Tonmoy and Mitra, Anirban and Mitra, Shabana, Dictatorship and the Provision of Public Goods (January 6, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3465005 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3465005

T. M. Tonmoy Islam

Elon University ( email )

Elon, NC 27244
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.tmtonmoyislam.com

Anirban Mitra

University of Kent ( email )

United Kingdom

Shabana Mitra (Contact Author)

Shiv Nadar University ( email )

NH-91, Tehsil Dadri

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