Centre for Development Economics
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics


Drought Relief in India


Lisa Tarquinio

Boston University

Thursday, 1st August 2019 at 3:00 PM

Venue : Seminar Room (First Floor)
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics

All are cordially invited

To analyze the (mis)allocation of drought relief, I have constructed a panel dataset of rainfall in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka for 2008 to 2018 at the assembly constituency (AC) level, the political unit at which state-level members of parliament (MLAs) are elected. I then match the rainfall data to AC-level election data and lists of official drought declarations at the mandal/taluk level. I use a fixed-effects panel regression analysis, where the empirical specifications are derived from a simple model in which the MLA seeks to be re-elected and drought declarations increase voter preferences for the MLA. First, I have established that the formula-based resource program does, to a degree, function as designed; mainly, I find that areas that meet the necessary rainfall deviation cutoff are more likely to be declared as drought affected. However, I also show that the likelihood of a drought declaration is affected by constituency-level political variables. On average, official drought declarations are more likely to occur in constituencies where the MLA is a member of the ruling party (or coalition) or where voter turnout in the last election was higher. I also find that constituencies in which the MLA won the last election by a smaller margin are more likely to receive a drought declaration if they also meet the rainfall deviation cutoff. In whole, this suggests that in spite of national and state guidelines proscribing a formula-based approach to drought relief, there does appear to be local political influence over the allocation of relief.

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