Synchronized Elections, Voter Behavior and Governance Outcomes: Evidence from India
74 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2020 Last revised: 6 Oct 2020
Date Written: October 05, 2020
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
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