With the introduction of Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), the winning margins and vote share of winners decline whereas the number of candidates in the average race increases, finds the study.
Manini Ojha, Associate Professor, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
Somdeep Chatterjee, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, India.
Mehreen Mookerjee, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates
Sanket Roy, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
A large amount of administrative effort is directed towards making elections credible and reducing electoral fraud in large democracies. However, it is not clear if such policy efforts have a feedback effect on political competition.
In this paper, we exploit plausibly exogenous variation in perceptions of electoral credibility following the introduction of a technology-induced voting reform in India and find significant impacts on political competition.
Electronic voting machines in India were mandated to include an additional layer of transparency by the introduction of a Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). We find that with the introduction of VVPAT, the winning margins and vote share of winners decline whereas the number of candidates in the average race increases.
The results are robust to econometric concerns arising out of staggered implementation of the program providing support to our identification design. Our results also point to heterogeneous effects of the VVPAT roll-out in constituencies that received it only once relative to those that got the VVPAT in two successive elections.
Interestingly, we note that much of the welfare improvement through increased political competition is reversed with more experience, suggesting the presence of important learning effects.
Published in: European Journal of Political Economy
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