Participatory Democracy in Action: Survey Evidence from South India
Besley, Pande, & Rao (2005)
There is much cynicism about the effects of participatory community institutions in developing countries, particularly because these fora can be coopted by political elites. This study seeks to understand who participates in village meetings called by elected officials and what effects these meetings have.
This study compares similar villages with each other after controlling for various factors. The treatment of interest is the holding of local meetings where communities discuss resource allocation decisions and help citizens monitor politicians.
1) People from the most disadvantaged social groups are the most likely to attend village meetings.
2) Holding these meetings does improve targeting of resources. However, these meetings do not help female participation.