Inequality in Policy Implementation: Caste and Electrification in Rural India
Journal of Public Policy, Forthcoming
101 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2020
Date Written: February 13, 2020
We examine unequal outcomes in the implementation of India's national rural electrification program in Uttar Pradesh. We ask two questions: (1) to what extent did Dalits, the lowest group in India's caste hierarchy, receive less attention when the state electrified rural communities? (2) Was BSP, the state's Dalit party, able to reduce this inequality? Using data from a hundred thousand villages, we provide robust evidence for unequal outcomes. Villages inhabited solely by Dalits were 20 percentage points less likely to be covered by the program than villages without any Dalits. Moreover, a regression discontinuity analysis shows that the electoral success of BSP failed to reduce such differences. These results highlight the magnitude and persistence of caste inequality in the implementation of democratic public policy, despite political representation.
Keywords: discrimination, caste, energy policy, India
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