Female political representation and economic development in India
The first substantive chapter of this thesis studies the impact of a politician's gender on the educational achievements of a representative sample of Indian citizens aged 13-39 in 1999/2000. For this purpose I collected a unique and detailed dataset on politicians in India who contested in elections during 1967-2001 and I matched them to individuals by district of residence. These data allows me to identify close elections between women and men, which yield quasi-experimental election outcomes used to estimate the causal effect of a politician's gender. I find that increasing female political representation by 10 percentage points increases the probability that an individual attains primary education in urban areas by 6 percentage points, which is 21% of the difference in primary education attainment between the richest and the poorest Indian states. This framework is then applied in the second substantive chapter to analyze whether politicians in India favour individuals who share their same identity more than the rest in policy making. I do this by matching the politician's identity to the identity of the beneficiaries of educational policies. I focus on the two groups that have lower educational achievements in India: women and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes. I use reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) and variation on female political representation in order to determine the politicians' identity. Results show that caste reservations only have a positive effect on the education received by SC/ST individuals when the proportion of SC/ST population in the district is high. Female politicians increase girls' education in urban areas. In addition when defining identity as gender and caste, results show that SC/ST female politicians increase women's and SC/ST's education while general female politicians increase women's and general individuals' education. Given that development policies are taken by the state governments, in the third substantive chapter I use panel data from the 16 main states in India during the period 1967-1999 to study the effects of having higher female representation in the State Legislatures on public goods provided, laws enacted and expenditure. I find that both the politicians' gender and caste matter for policy. Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe female legislators favour investments in primary education, and in beds in hospitals and dispensaries. They favour "women-friendly" laws, such as amendments to the Hindu Succession Act, proposed to give women the same inheritance rights as men and propoor redistributive policies such as land reforms. In contrast, general female legislators do not have any impact on "women-friendly" laws, oppose land reforms, invest in higher tiers of education and reduce social expenditure.