In my dissertation, How Quotas Shape Political Violence: Field Evidence from India, I analyze how local government quotas targeted historically excluded populations affect patterns ongoing Maoist political violence in Jharkhand, India. To address this open question I developed a field study that leveraged two quota systems in Jharkhand with discontinuity research designs. Analyzing an original 1,600-person household survey, I find causal evidence that under specific conditions, quotas reduce short-term Maoist violence.

Surprisingly, I find these patterns do not reflect perceptions of increased government legitimacy or greater economic security for quota beneficiaries – who instead are more supportive of Maoist groups. Rather, I find tentative evidence in support of a mechanism of armed group capture, where Maoist groups substitute the capture of local development funds for the use of violence. This research has implications for the design of institutions in fragile states and conflict zones. For a sample of the dissertation which combines sections from several chapters, please see my job market paper.

Dissertation Chapters (Book Manuscript):

  1. Introduction
  2. Literature and Contribution
  3. The Persistence of the Maoist Movement in India
  4. Local Dynamics of Maoist Armed Groups in Jharkhand
  5. Identity and Representation in Jharkhand
  6. Measuring Violence and Support for the Maoists
  7. The Effect of Population Quotas on Violence
  8. The Effect of Geographic Quotas on Violence
  9. Conclusion: Beyond Jharkhand

  Please email me for additional chapters: ben.pasquale@nyu.edu