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Purpose – This paper aims to provide an overview of recent research on accountability of local and state governments in India. Design/methodology/approach – The Downsian theory of electoral competition is used as a departure point for classifying different sources of government accountability failures. Subsequent sections deal with each of these sources in turn: limited voter participation and awareness; ideology, honesty and competence of political parties and electoral candidates; capture by elites; clientelism and vote‐buying. Each section starts by explaining the relevant departure from the Downsian framework and then reviews available empirical evidence in the Indian context for each of these possible “distortions”, besides effects of related policy interventions. The final section summarizes the lessons learnt, and the fresh questions that they raise. Findings – The paper describes a range of possible reasons that limit the effectiveness of elections as a mechanism inducing governments to be accountable to their citizens and reviews the evidence available from the Indian context concerning each of these. Originality/value – The contribution of the paper is to provide an overview and perspective of recent literature on political economy problems affecting performance of state and local governments in India.
Indian Growth and Development Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 8, 2014
Keywords: Growth and development strategies; Political economy of growth and development
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