Synchronized Elections, Voter Behavior and Governance Outcomes: Evidence from India

74 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2020 Last revised: 6 Oct 2020

See all articles by Vimal Balasubramaniam

Vimal Balasubramaniam

Queen Mary University of London

Apurav Yash Bhatiya

University of Warwick - Department of Economics

Sabyasachi Das

Ashoka University

Date Written: October 05, 2020

Abstract

We examine whether holding national and state elections simultaneously or sequentially affects voter decisions and consequently, governance outcomes in India. Synchronized elections increase the likelihood of the same political party winning constituencies in both tiers by 21.6%. It increases the salience of political parties among voters, reduces split-ticket voting and shifts voters’ priority to state issues, without significantly affecting turnout and winning margin. A model of behaviorally constrained voters with costly information acquisition best explains our results. Finally, synchronization affects voter behavior without any significant economic gains. Our findings highlight that election designs can have implications for effective decentralization.

Keywords: Voter behavior, India, Elections, Democracy, Behavioral Political Economy

JEL Classification: P16, D72

Suggested Citation

Balasubramaniam, Vimal and Bhatiya, Apurav Yash and Das, Sabyasachi, Synchronized Elections, Voter Behavior and Governance Outcomes: Evidence from India (October 05, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3636183 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3636183

Vimal Balasubramaniam (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London ( email )

Mile End Rd
Mile End Road
London, London E1 4NS
United Kingdom

Apurav Yash Bhatiya

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Sabyasachi Das

Ashoka University ( email )

Rajiv Gandhi Education City, Plot #2,
Sonepat
Rai, Haryana 131029
India

HOME PAGE: http://dassabyasachi.wordpress.com/

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