Fertility Limits on Local Politicians in India

S Anukriti, Boston College
Abhishek Chakravarty, University of Essex

Aspirations are a key correlate of economic mobility but are difficult to measure. We use a novel approach to quantify political aspirations in India by estimating individuals’ willingness to trade-off family size for political office. Many Indian states bar individuals from contesting village council elections if their fertility exceeds the legal limits. We find that at least 3.65 million households altered their fertility due to the limits. This effect is not driven by the role-model influence of leaders but instead reflects strong leadership ambitions of Indian citizens. Thus policymakers in developing countries should take into account significant latent political aspirations for more effective policy-design.

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Presented in Session 139: The Impacts of Policies and Programs on Fertility