We estimate the causal effect of independent candidates on voter turnout and election outcomes in India. To do this, we exploit exogenous changes in the entry deposit candidates pay for their participation in the political process, changes that disproportionately excluded candidates with no affiliation to established political parties. A one standard deviation increase in the number of independent candidates increases voter turnout by more than 6 percentage points, as some voters choose to vote rather than stay home. The vote share of independent candidates increases by more than 10 percentage points, as some existing voters switch who they vote for. Thus, independents allow winning candidates to win with less vote share, decrease the probability of electing a candidate from the governing coalition by about 31 percentage points, and ultimately increase the probability of electing an ethnic-party candidate. Altogether, the results imply that the price of participation by independents is constituency representation in government.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0003055418000199, hdl.handle.net/1765/106545
Journal American Political Science Review
Citation
Kapoor, S.V, & Magesan, A. (2018). Independent Candidates and Political Representation in India. American Political Science Review, 1–20. doi:10.1017/S0003055418000199