Research / Weiss Fund Supported ResearchJun 23, 2018

Enfranchising Your Own? Experimental Evidence on Bureaucrat Diversity and Election Bias in India

Yusuf Neggers
American Economic Review

This paper investigates the effects of polling station administrator diversity on elections in India, using a natural experiment: the random assignment of government officials to teams managing stations on election day, together with surveys conducted with voters and election officers. I demonstrate that changes in the religious and caste composition of officer teams impact voting at the polling station level, causing shifts in coalition vote shares large enough to influence election outcomes. Effects are strongest when officers have greater discretion over the voting process. I also provide evidence suggesting own-group favoritism by election personnel as one relevant mechanism.