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IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Economics Work In Progress Seminar Series

Political Reservations as Term Limits

Caitlin Brown (Manchester, IFS), joint with Garance Genicot and Nishtha Kochhar

Thursday 07 October 2021 12:30 - 17:00

This event will take place online.

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as online seminars or as online and in person. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, current restrictions mean in-person seminars are only open to members of the LSE community (those with a valid LSE ID card).

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom.


About this event

While political reservations aim to ensure a more equal representation for women and disadvantaged groups, they also impose effective term limits on many incumbent politicians who would otherwise have had a chance to contest elections again. By decreasing the future electoral prospects of politicians, next-period reservations may affect politicians’ present resource allocations and worsen elite capture. We first illustrate this issue using a theoretical model in which the allocation of public resources is a trade-off between the incentive of the incumbent to increase their future electoral prospects and their incentive to cater to elites. Using detailed data from India, we then estimate the differences in public resource allocations between term- and non-term-limited village presidents. We find that term-limited presidents provide relatively fewer public goods to heavily populated streets (with many potential votes), and instead allocate more public goods to the streets of the landed elite. We also find that term-limited presidents provide more private benefits to landed households. These findings appear to be driven predominately by term-limited lower-caste presidents. Our findings have important implications for the interpretation of the effects of political reservations and understanding elite capture in rural India.

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS, STICERD, and UCL.

IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Economics Work In Progress seminars are held on Thursdays in term time at 13:00-14:00, ONLINE, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar organisers: Oriana Bandiera (STICERD, LSE), Imran Rasul (UCL), Britta Augsburg (IFS) and Jonathan Weigel (LSE).

For further information please contact Lubala Chibwe, either by email: l.chibwe@lse.ac.uk.

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This event will take place online.