I will be periodically documenting the travels and travails of fieldwork for my projects. The current project, whose fruit will satisfy the PhD requirements in form of a paper (or two, depending on the data), looks at how ethnic political parties succeed. The fieldwork takes the form of a series of survey experiments in India’s heartlands, in West Benal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Specifically, the experiments answer whether voters prefer security (against violence from rival ethnicities) or narrow, particularistic public goods (bicycles, for instance) from their electoral candidates.
I begin with the first phase of fieldwork in northeast West Bengal, in the foothills of the Himalayas. We move on to the Gangetic plains of Uttar Pradesh and finally to rural Bihar, one of India’s most impoverished and ethnic strife ridden regions.