Political market imperfections and the political incentives for the provision of social services : a case study of two states in India
Taisha Grace Antony
Date of Issue2017
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
Delivery of social services of health and education often see significant cross-national variations within a country. Even state governments in democratic developing counties sometimes have an incentive to provide targeted benefits as political rents, at the expense of the provision of broad national collective services. This thesis argues that differences in state government expenditures can be traced to certain imperfections in the political market, which may be greater in some states as compared to others. These imperfections, in turn, affect the political incentives for the provision for social services. The three independent factors or imperfections in the political market that have been identified to have the potential for affecting electoral accountability are the degree of information available to voters, the dynamics of political competition, and the extent of ethnic fragmentation in a state. Using macroeconomic data from 1961 to 20 I I, this thesis undertakes a case study on two states in India - Kerala and Uttar Pradesh- to demonstrate that a state with better informed voters, political competition among two credible political parties, as well as voters who are less ethnically fragmented on policy issues, is likely to be more efficient in its public expenditure policies than a state made up of relatively uninformed voters, non-credible political competition among multiple parties, and a highly ethnically divided population . These findings have significant implications for policy implementation, and need to be addressed in order to effectively reform the provision of essential social services.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science