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Slums as Vote Banks and Residents,Access to Basic Amenities:The Role of Political Contact and its Determinants
Brent Edelman and Arup Mitra
This paper analyses the slum dwellers’ access to basic amenities and how they manage to gain access to these amenities. According to the data based on associations between the Indian states’ shares of slums, the proportions of notified slums, and the prevailing conditions in slums in terms of basic amenities, political contact is a key factor in this area. The slum survey data (2004-05), which is based on the political economy framework, shows that political contact facilitates easier access to certain facilities, including land tenure and basic amenities. The logit model identifies determinants of political contact by examining social networks and individual endowments. This paper argues that while political accessibility is crucial for the survival strategy, the vulnerability of slum dwellers hardly diminishes in the long run; on the contrary, the political se of slums as “vote banks” perpetuates this vulnerability. Certain findings suggest that strong social networks can prevent low-income households from falling into political traps. It is possible for these households to access amenities and improved living conditions through their own efforts and through social capital, without essentially becoming a part of any political party.

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