Political Reservation and Allocation of Household Public Goods for Backward Communities
Keywords:Household Public Goods, Decentralisation, Gram Panchayat, Political Reservation.
AbstractDoes political reservation for the backward communities at the rural local governments (Gram Panchayats in India) help favourable allocation of household public goods (houses, toilets, jobs) to the households belonging to those communities? While the conventional literature answers this question in affirmative, the present paper argues that the re-election motive of the political parties may prevent the elected representative belonging to the disadvantaged community to divert the allocation in favour of her own community, especially when it is in minority in the Panchayat. Thus, the purpose of political reservation may fail. Analysing data from villages in West Bengal, India, for Scheduled Caste (SC) reservation at the Gram Panchayats, we find that the impact of political reservation varies across household public goods. The political compulsion shows up the most in provision of jobs, the benefit of which is recurrent in nature.
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