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Development Economics Paper
Just Rewards? Local Politics and Public Resource Allocation in South India
Timothy Besley, Rohini Pande and Vijayendra Rao
October 2007
Paper No' DEDPS 49:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: H76; H11; O12

Tags: decentralization; india; panchayat.

This paper uses data on elected village councils in South India to examine the political economy of public resource allocation. We find that the pattern of policy-making reflects politicians' self-interest. Elected councillors benefit from improved personal access to public resources. In addition, the head councillor's group identity and residence influences public resource allocation. While electoral incentives do not eliminate politician opportunism, voters appear able to use their electoral clout to gain greater access to public resources.