Does Revolution Work? Evidence from Nepal's People's War
Governance Lab is facilitating research led by researchers from Yale University, University of California San Diego, Stanford University and EPoD India at IFMR, in collaboration with the Government of Nepal, that seeks to understand political selection (“Who becomes a politician”) through the lens of the 1996-2006 civil war. The study intends to understand the differences in inclusion of historically excluded groups into politics in the 2017 local elections. The second objective is to explore the role of political parties and citizens in influencing representation of the elected representatives. Third, it explores the representation-ability trade-off to answer the question of whether inclusion comes at the cost of competency. Finally, it uses the earthquake reconstruction transfers as a policy space to analyze the impact of political connectedness on access to the reconstruction transfers.
In the wake of an earthquake and a decade of civil unrest, the government of Nepal has started a massive process of political and fiscal decentralization, holding its first local elections in 20 years in 2017. Researchers have collected an array of population data, election data, and data on conflict to study the selection and training of newly elected representatives to better understand who becomes a local politician, how the civil war affected political selection, and the role of political parties in the process of selecting competent and representative candidates. Researchers have also conducted a large-scale survey of party selection committees around selection practices, priorities, and justifications. Overall, the study gathers, brings together, and analyzes eight different administrative and survey datasets to fulfill the objectives mentioned above. This study will culminate in an evaluation of how decentralized institutions can increase political stability and improve post-conflict reconstruction and service delivery. The preliminary findings from this study are available at request.