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최신자료
Declining Clientelism of Welfare Benefits? Targeting and Political Competition based Evidence from an Indian state
NBER
2024.02.21
It has been argued that since 2014, under the BJP-led central government, welfare benefits in India have become better targeted and less prone to clientelistic control by state and local governments. Arguably this has helped to increase the vote share of the BJP vis-a-vis regional parties. We test these hypotheses using longitudinal data from 3500 rural households in the state of West Bengal. We fail to find evidence that the new “central” programs introduced after 2014 were better targeted than traditional “state” programs, or that the targeting of state programs improved after 2014. Households receiving the new “central” benefits introduced since 2014 were more likely to switch their political support to the BJP. However, changes in the scale, composition or targeting of these programs, in clientelistic effectiveness of traditional state programs or in household incomes, fail to account for the large observed increase in the voters‘ support for the BJP. Non-Hindus, especially recent immigrant non-Hindus, were much less likely to switch support to the BJP, even after controlling for benefits received and changes in household incomes. Our results suggest that ideology and identity politics were more important factors explaining the rising popularity of the BJP.