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Mandated Political Representation and Redistribution

Mitra, Anirban (2015): Mandated Political Representation and Redistribution.


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Mandated political representation for minorities involves earmarking certain electoral districts where only minority–group candidates are permitted to contest. Such quotas have been implemented in India for certain social groups and for women, although gender quotas in the legislature are popular in several other countries. This paper builds a political–economy model to analyze the effect of such affirmative action on redistribution in equilibrium. Our model predicts that, in situations where the minority–group is economically disadvantaged and where voters favor candidates from their own group, such a quota actually reduces transfers to poorer groups. Moreover, redistribution in reserved districts leads to a rise in within–(minority) group inequality.

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