Free and fair elections are cornerstones of democracy. In India, electronic voting machines (EVMs) were introduced with the objective of reducing electoral fraud. We exploit the phased roll-out of the EVMs in state assembly elections to study its impact on electoral fraud, democracy, and development. Our main findings are: (i) Introductions of EVMs led to a significant decline in electoral frauds, particularly in politically sensitive states which were subjected to frequent re-polls due to electoral rigging. (ii) It strengthened the weaker and the vulnerable sections of the society (women and the scheduled castes and tribe) who were now more likely to cast their vote. (iii) It made the electoral process more competitive whereby the winning margin and the vote share of the winning party declined. (iv) Using the luminosity data, we find that EVMs led to an increase in the provision of electricity. (v) Lastly, we find evidence that EVMs resulted in significant decline in crimes, such as murder and rape (violence against women). The complete paper can be found here. This paper is co-authored with Dr. Sisir Debnath (ISB) and Dr. Mudit Kapoor (ISI).
Development Seminar Series Photographs
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Distinguished Fellow Rakesh Mohan (former deputy governor of the RBI) and Shamika Ravi (Senior Fellow, Brookings India) at the 1st Development Seminar on “Transporting India to the 2030s” on July 1, 2016
Dr. Subir Gokarn (Executive Director, IMF, and founding research director of Brookings India) at the Development Seminar on “Dr D. Subbarao on leading the RBI through 5 turbulent years” on August 5, 2016
Shamika Ravi (Senior Fellow, Brookings India) and Prof. Somanathan (Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi) listen to Dr. Ajay Mathur (Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute) during the Development Seminar “Environmental Challenges in India” on January 20, 2017
Professor Shivaram Rajgopal (Columbia Business School) and Shamika Ravi (Senior Fellow, Brookings India), listen to Somasekhar Sundaresan (Advocate) during the Development Seminar “Corporate social responsibility in India: Law, implementation and evidence” on Dec 12, 2016
Shamika Ravi (Senior Fellow, Brookings India) and Sumit Agarwal (Vice-Dean of Research, National University of Singapore) engage with the audience in the Development Seminar “Disguised Corruption: Evidence from Consumer Credit in China” on July 22, 2016
About Development Seminars Series @ Brookings India
The Development Seminars Series @ Brookings India is a platform for global scholars to present their work to a curated audience of senior government officials, politicians, journalists, academics and policy enthusiasts. The format of the seminars includes a senior researcher as a lead presenter and a government/industry expert to discuss the results and relevance within the Indian context. The fundamental focus of the seminar series is to draw research-based insights to shape and influence policy dialogues in India, through purposeful and pointed discussions.