Participatory Democracy in Action: Survey Evidence from South India

We use household and village survey data from South India to examine who participates in village meetings called by elected local governments, and what effect these meetings have on beneficiary selection for welfare programs. Our main finding is that members of socially and economically disadvantaged groups, specifically landless and low caste individuals, are both more likely to attend these meetings and be chosen as beneficiaries in villages which have village meetings.

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