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  • Brian Min, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Book description

How do developing states decide who gets access to public goods like electricity, water, and education? Power and the Vote breaks new ground by showing that the provision of seemingly universal public goods is intricately shaped by electoral priorities. In doing so, this book introduces new methods using high-resolution satellite imagery to study the distribution of electricity across and within the developing world. Combining cross-national evidence with detailed sub-national analysis and village-level data from India, Power and the Vote affirms the power of electoral incentives in shaping the distribution of public goods and challenges the view that democracy is a luxury of the rich with little relevance to the world's poor.

Reviews

‘Hundreds of millions lack reliable access to electricity, the foundation of modern life. Brian Min uses his mastery of the nuts and bolts of the sector to show that it is politicians who flip the switch. This fine book should be widely read. It provides compelling answers to central issues of the political economy of development - not least, ‘do elections matter?' - with meticulous technique and illuminating detail.'

Philip Keefer - Principal Economic Advisor, Inter-American Development Bank

‘The challenge of reliably measuring public and private goods provision has long stymied scholarship on distributive politics. Brian Min provides a substantial breakthrough with his innovative use of global satellite imagery to gauge the usage of electricity throughout the developing world. These remarkable data allow assessment of the uneven spread of electrical power throughout space and time, the tendency of democracies to serve poor rural populations, and the relationship between electoral and allocative politics. Scholars seeking to identify the effects of political institutions on distributive outcomes will benefit tremendously from Min's approach.'

Thad Dunning - Robson Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

‘Access to energy is crucial for economic development and poverty alleviation. Power and the Vote provides a groundbreaking and extremely meticulous investigation of the way electoral incentives, not efficiency consideration, shape the distribution of electricity around the world, particularly in India. The book makes a major contribution to the growing literature on electoral clientelism and the political economy infrastructure provision in developing countries.'

Leonard Wantchekon - Princeton University, New Jersey

'Using satellite imagery and a combination of national and local data from across India, Min analyses the distribution of electricity and other public goods across that country, which he argues has been distorted by political and electoral motivations.'

Source: Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

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Contents

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