Inequality in Policy Implementation: Caste and Electrification in Rural India

Journal of Public Policy, Forthcoming

101 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2020

See all articles by Michaël Aklin

Michaël Aklin

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Political Science

Chao-Yo Cheng

Tsinghua University - Department of Political Science

Johannes Urpelainen

Johns Hopkins SAIS

Date Written: February 13, 2020

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Aklin, Michaël and Cheng, Chao-yo and Urpelainen, Johannes, Inequality in Policy Implementation: Caste and Electrification in Rural India (February 13, 2020). Journal of Public Policy, Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3537542

Michaël Aklin

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Political Science ( email )

4600 Posvar Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Chao-yo Cheng

Tsinghua University - Department of Political Science ( email )

153 MIngzhai, Qinghua Yuan
Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100084
China

Johannes Urpelainen (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins SAIS ( email )

1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-1984
United States

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