Brief 07: Do Party Politics Undermine Ethnic Quotas?

Survey Results (for disadv. castes)Estimated EffectStand. Dev.Significant?
% Received job or benefit from council1.57(3.62)No
% Received job through MGNREGA scheme3.39(3.67)No
% Received benefit through any government scheme3.28(6.27)No
Outcomes in Welfare Program Expenditures (in Rupees)Estimated EffectStand. Dev.Significant?
Ashraya Scheme-89,892.7(-86,063.7)No
IAY Scheme-15,095.7(87,357.1)No
Ambedkar Housing Scheme-31,681.4(28,580.8)No
MGNREGA Scheme39,305.7(212,448.3)No
  • This study shows that ethnic group quotas are not a panacea for improving representation of disadvantaged groups. Additional factors such as party politics may still affect how local bodies distribute state benefits and implement policies.
  • Political parties, particularly in areas where parties bring together multiple ethnic groups, may provide more effective means of political mobilization, and therefore may be more influential in local politics than ethnic quotas. Policy makers should keep in mind how political parties may change the impact of quotas when evaluating such policies.
  • However, it is important to note that this study does not conclude that quotas have no effect whatsoever on local politics. Quotas may still have important social or political impacts that are not directly related to the distribution of state benefits.
  • It is also important to note that while this study does imply that India’s ethnic quotas are likely not effective in reducing inequalities for disadvantaged groups, it was not able to measure the overall impact of the quota policy on India. Rather, it focused on the specific effect of village quotas during a particular election cycle, and therefore does not measure the broader impacts of the quota policy as a whole.