ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Does Political Reservation Affect Voting Behaviour?

An empirical examination of the impact of political reservation for disadvantaged groups on voting behaviour, using microdata from the National Election Study 2004, shows that in a reserved constituency, where only members of the disadvantaged castes can stand for election, voters of the disadvantaged castes are encouraged to vote. On the other hand, the system of constituency reservation does not have any impact on turnout of voters belonging to other groups, including relatively upper-caste voters. This finding suggests that political reservation does not crowd out electoral participation of other groups. These voters, however, tend to vote for the right-wing political party in reserved constituencies, implying a possibility that political reservation might provoke a social cleavage along caste lines in Indian politics.

We thank the anonymous reviewer of this journal and also Daiji Kawaguchi, Hidehiko Ichimura, V K Ramachandran, Norihito Sakamoto, Ayako Matsuda, Kiwako Sakamoto, Ryosuke Okamoto, Nobuhiro Hosoe, Dan Sasaki and the participants of the 5th Applied Econometrics Conference (University of Osaka, 2010), the 7th Annual Conference on Economic Growth and Development (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, 2011) and the Policy Modeling Workshop (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, 2012) for their helpful comments. We also acknowledge the CSDS for allowing us the use of NES04 microdata. All remaining errors are ours.

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