Costs of Democracy: Political Finance in India

ISBN : 9780199487271

Devesh Kapur; Milan Vaishnav
312 ページ
147 x 223 mm
  • This book is the very first empirical exploration of money in Indian politics.
  • Demonetization and the so-called 'war on black money' has captured the public discourse.
  • While political finance is widely believed to be linked to corruption and illicit flows, there is very little literature on the subject.

One of the most troubling critiques of contemporary democracy is the inability of representative governments to regulate the deluge of money in politics. If it is impossible to conceive of democracies without elections, it is equally impractical to imagine elections without money. Costs of Democracy is an exhaustive, ground-breaking study of money in Indian politics that opens readers’ eyes to the opaque and enigmatic ways in which money flows through the political veins of the world’s largest democracy. 

Through original, in-depth investigation—drawing from extensive fieldwork on political campaigns, pioneering surveys, and innovative data analysis—the contributors in this volume uncover the institutional and regulatory contexts governing the torrent of money in politics; the sources of political finance; the reasons for such large spending; and how money flows, influences, and interacts with different tiers of government. The book raises uncomfortable questions about whether the flood of money risks washing away electoral democracy itself.


List of Figures and Tables 
List of Abbreviations 

Devesh Kapur and Milan Vaishnav 

1. Political Finance in a Developing Democracy 
The Case of India 
Eswaran Sridharan and Milan Vaishnav 

2. Money in Elections 
The Role of Personal Wealth in Election Outcomes 
Neelanjan Sircar 

3. Builders, Politicians, and Election Finance 
Devesh Kapur and Milan Vaishnav 

4. Navigating Fiscal Constraints 
Dalit Parties and Electoral Politics in Tamil Nadu 
Michael M. Collins 

5. Money and Votes 
Following Flows through Mumbai and Bihar 
Lisa Björkman and Jeffrey Witsoe 

6. What Costs So Much in Indian Elections? 
Intuitions from Recent Electoral Campaigns in Mumbai 
Simon Chauchard 

7. Whose Money, Whose Influence? Multilevel Politics and Campaign Finance in India 
Jennifer Bussell 

Implications for Research and Policy 
Devesh Kapur, Eswaran Sridharan, and Milan Vaishnav 

Editors and Contributors


Edited by Devesh Kapur, Madan Lal Sobti Professor & Director, Center for Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania, and Milan Vaishnav, Senior Fellow, South Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Milan Vaishnav is a Senior Fellow in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His primary research focus is the political economy of India, and he examines issues such as corruption and governance, state capacity, distributive politics, and electoral behaviour. He is the author of When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics (Yale University Press/HarperCollins India 2017) and co-editor (with Devesh Kapur and Pratap Bhanu Mehta) of Rethinking Public Institutions in India (Oxford University Press 2017). Previously, he worked at the Center for Global Development, where he served as a postdoctoral research fellow; the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has taught at Columbia, Georgetown, and George Washington universities. He holds a PhD in political science from Columbia University.

Devesh Kapur is the Madan Lal Sobti Professor for the Study of Contemporary India and Director, Center for Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania; and Non-Resident fellow at the Center for Global Development, Washington, D.C. He is the coauthor of The World Bank: Its First Half Century; Public Institutions in India: Performance; and Design and Against the Odds: The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs. His three books on international migration examine the effects at a global level (Give us your Best and Brightest: The Global Hunt for Talent and Its Impact on the Developing World); and on the country of emigration (Diaspora, Democracy and Development: The Impact of International Migration from India on India published by Princeton University Press which received the 2012 Distinguished Book Award of the International Studies Association).

E. Sridharan 
Jeffrey Witsoe
Lisa Björkman 
Jennifer Bussell 
Simon Chauchard 
Michael Collins 
Neelanjan Sircar