"Ethnic politics," in which constituents vote based on ethnic affiliation instead of candidate qualifications, has contributed to the rise of corrupt politicians in India. The objective of this study, directed by Professor Abhijit Banerjee of MIT's Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Laboratory, is to evaluate the responsiveness of constituents to indicators of caste versus other legislator characteristics, such as criminality and corruption. The data collected from this survey will be critical in developing effective designs for voter education campaigns conducted in rural areas of South Asia, ultimately reducing corruption in Indian politics.
About the Grantee
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Grants to this Grantee
for support of a new university center on economy and society
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will use this grant to create a new center that will foster research and curriculum development, as well as work with other university centers being established to cultivate a network that will develop new thinking around political economy, economy, and society.
for research and recommendations on election administration practices
Unlike in many western democracies, in the United States the mechanisms through which elections are run (collectively referred to as election administration) are generally managed at the state and local rather than the national level - by 50 state laws across 4,600 jurisdictions and overseen by 13,000 administrators. This variation in oversight and practice, alongside technological and other challenges, contribute to a myriad of problems that impact citizens' ability to vote and to have their vote counted. These problems include the long lines referenced in President Obama's 2012 election night victory speech, which served as the impetus for the creation of the Federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in 2013. The EAC has a broad mandate to explore possibilities ranging from improving poll worker recruitment and training to the management of voter rolls, but only a six month window in which to assess the problem and devise recommendations. This relatively narrow window and the political prominence of the effort creates both a challenge and an opportunity to advance research and identify promising reforms that otherwise would take years to develop. This grant would support America's top political scientists in election administration to assemble the best research available and to communicate that research to both the EAC and the public in the development of the EAC's finding and recommendations.
for general support of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT
The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is dedicated to fighting global poverty by ensuring that policy decisions are based on scientific evidence. To broaden and deepen the evidence base, J-PAL trains evaluators and policymakers in the design and use of randomized evaluations, and conducts outreach to encourage the expansion and replication of effective programs. Recognized as the premier institution in this field, and having established five affiliate offices around the world, including the Hewlett-supported branch in South Africa, J-PAL is well on its way to improving the lives of over 100 million people across the globe.