Fertility Limits on Local Politicians in India

Research Seminars
Academic Areas Economics and Public Policy
Abhishek Chakravarty, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Essex
September 12, 2014 | 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM | Friday
AC 2 Mini Lecture Theatre, Hyderabad, India
Open to Public
Abstract: We examine the demographic implications of fertility limits on local politicians. Several Indian states disbar individuals with more than two children from contesting Panchayat and municipal elections. These two-child limits are intended to decrease fertility among the constituents through a role-model effect and by incentivizing individuals who intend to run for elections in the future to plan smaller families. We find that fertility limits on elected representatives decrease voters’ fertility. However, they also increase the sex ratio at birth, especially in states and for socioeconomic groups with a stronger preference for sons. We show that households are willing to give up higher order births to remain eligible for political office, but only if they have the desired number of sons. Our results point towards a novel source of demographic influence: political leaders.