Paper - Dubai Initiative, Belfer Center

Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Policy Choices and Rural Incorporation

| May 10, 2008

The literature of political development has long advocated the importance of integrating the rural countryside into mainstream political institutions. This paper argues that rural incorporation is best understood within the context of pro-peasant policy innovations targeting specific constituencies in an electorate. While there are important preconditions that set the stage for rural incorporation (legitimacy of the political party, party organization), rural incorporation is fostered when credible commitments are made to voter blocs. Combining case-study analysis and formal modeling, this paper focuses on the reasons pro-peasant policies lead to rural incorporation but not necessarily regime durability. Insights derived center on the importance of credible commitments to party dynamics, the path dependence of early elections, and the decision parameters of constituencies with limited information.

DI Fellow Haroon Ullah recently published a working paper with DSG. Access it in full here.

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For Academic Citation: Ullah, Haroon. "Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Policy Choices and Rural Incorporation." Working Paper, Dubai Initiative, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, May 10, 2008.