Political Dynasties and Local Economic Development in Pakistan (Article)
Political dynasties are entrenched in Pakistan’s political system. Dynastic legislatures constitute more than 50 percent of elected politicians in Pakistan. However, until recently, no scientific study was conducted to evaluate the economic performance of dynastic parliamentarians. This study explores the effect of political dynasties on local economic development at the constituency level across Pakistan. More specifically, the objective is to examine whether constituencies with dynastic persistence are significantly different from the rest in terms of economic activities and public good provisioning. To measure political dynasties, data on elected politicians who won 2002, 2008, & 2013 general elections are utilised to extract information about a politician’s family background. This information is then matched with the constituency level indicators of economic development and public goods. The findings show that dynastic legislature underperforms relative to non-dynast in terms of local economic development and public good provision. Constituencies with non-dynast winners have improved water and sanitation facilities, better infrastructure, and significantly higher access to public services such as electricity, gas, and telephone. The study recommends that limiting the role of parliamentarians in discretionary funds and development spending, and empowering the local government system would minimise the performance differences across constituencies.