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DO POOR PEOPLE BENEFIT LESS FROM DECENTRALIZATION?
Unformatted Document Text:  1 DO POOR PEOPLE BENEFIT LESS FROM DECENTRALIZATION? ANIRUDH KRISHNA * Duke University Paper prepared for 2003 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia, August 27-31, 2003 Abstract Decentralizing authority to democratically elected local government can be counterproductive if elites capture power at the local level. What safeguards can help facilitate more equitable and participatory decentralization? This question is examined with the help of an original database, compiled for 53 panchayats (village councils) in two states of northern India, including individual interviews with over 2,000 local residents. Wealth and social status matter relatively little, it is found, for who participates and who has influence within panchayats; education and information count for much more. Education and information empower traditionally excluded groups to participate more often and more effectively in the processes and benefits of local government. Policies that enable people to educate themselves, particularly about their rights and about the processes of local governments, should precede or at least accompany decentralization. * Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, Duke University, Box 90245, Durham, NC 27708-0245; (919) 613-7337; ## email not listed ## .

Authors: Krishna, Anirudh.
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1
DO POOR PEOPLE BENEFIT LESS FROM DECENTRALIZATION?
ANIRUDH KRISHNA
*
Duke University
Paper prepared for 2003 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association,
Philadelphia, August 27-31, 2003
Abstract
Decentralizing authority to democratically elected local government can be counterproductive if
elites capture power at the local level. What safeguards can help facilitate more equitable and
participatory decentralization? This question is examined with the help of an original database,
compiled for 53 panchayats (village councils) in two states of northern India, including
individual interviews with over 2,000 local residents. Wealth and social status matter relatively
little, it is found, for who participates and who has influence within panchayats; education and
information count for much more. Education and information empower traditionally excluded
groups to participate more often and more effectively in the processes and benefits of local
government. Policies that enable people to educate themselves, particularly about their rights
and about the processes of local governments, should precede or at least accompany
decentralization.
*
Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, Duke University, Box 90245, Durham, NC 27708-0245;
(919) 613-7337;
## email not listed ##
.


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