A very interesting study conducted by two economists from Harvard (USA) and Mannheim (Germany) universities has revealed that constituencies in India ruled by dynasts haven’t seen the development that other constituencies have. Constituencies ruled by dynastic MPs have lagged in both economic activity and social indices.
The research paper titled ‘Understanding the economic impacts of political dynasties: theory and evidence from India’, has been jointly authored by Harvard University’s Siddharth Eapen George and University of Mannheim’s Dominic Ponattu.
It defines a ‘dynast’ as a candidate with at least one family member who has previously held political office in the state or Parliament. Going by this definition, nearly 16 percent winners of winners and runners-up in Lok Sabha elections over the last two decades are dynasts, most of which are close connections: two-thirds of dynastic politicians are sons, daughters or spouses of a current or former office-holder.
The two researchers have found out that dynastic MPs perform worse on matters of economic development. Between 1999 and 2014, constituencies where dynasts win, night-time electricity availability has grown, on an average, 6.5 percentage points slower compared to constituencies where dynasts lose.
According to the paper, dynastic rule worsens public good provision on nearly every measure. Public schools are the backbone of the country as most study in public schools, yet, dynastic rule has had negligible impact on the education public goods index comprising of the availability of government pre-primary, primary, middle, secondary and senior secondary schools.
Public healthcare services have in fact worsened under dynastic MPs.Such constituencies also fare poorly on measures such as treated tap water, closed drainage, total sanitation program coverage, and a system of garbage collection.
The negative impact of dynastic politics doesn’t end here; it reduces the availability of public services such as bus services and gravel roads. The financial services department suffers too. Presence of commercial banks, cooperative banks, and agricultural credit societies shows no improvement. Social welfare infrastructure such as public distribution shops and entertainment services such as community centres, sports fields and clubs, and cinema halls, do not see needed development either under dynastic MPs.
What does this study signify?
First of all, this vindicates the stand of the BJP and Prime Minister who has been vociferously asking people to finish dynastic politics as the purpose of such politics is to serve the family, not public.This study spells more trouble for dynasts like Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Gogoi and a few others. Since 2014, such dynasts have seen loss after loss and the situation is not expected to improve for them.
This study proves that dynasts take people for granted because they know that people will give them votes on the basis of their name, not work. This is exactly what’s happened in Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi and Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareilly – both constituencies have seen no development even though people have repeatedly voted for them because these two corrupt politicians never cared for the people.