Synchronized Elections, Voter Behavior and Governance Outcomes: Evidence from India

We examine whether holding national and state elections simultaneously or sequentially affects voter decisions and consequently, electoral and economic outcomes in India. Synchronized elections increase the likelihood of the same political party winning constituencies in both tiers by 21%. It reduces split-ticket voting, increases the salience of party among voters and shifts voters’ priority to state issues, without significantly affecting turnout and winning margin. A model of behaviorally constrained voters with costly information acquisition best explains our results. Finally, synchronization results in insignificant economic gains. Our findings have implications for the design of elections to multiple tiers of government.

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