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Do Criminals Politicians Reduce Corruption? Evidence from India

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  • Matthieu Chemin

Abstract

This paper relates unique data on criminal records of local politicians in India to corruption, crime and poverty. Using a regression discontinuity design, whereby individuals living in districts where a criminal politician barely won are compared to individuals living in districts where a criminal politician barely lost, this paper shows that criminal politicians reduce bribe-taking behavior of law and order officials by 34 percent. One possible explanation for this result is that when interests of politicians and those of interest groups converge, criminal politicians' control over bureaucrats acts as a substitute for bribes from these interest groups. This is not to say that criminal politicians should be elected to eradicate corruption, but rather that corruption is underestimated if only measured by bribe-taking without taking into account political control: as less bribes need to be paid, criminal offences, similar to those mostly committed by criminal politicians, increase by 25 percent. Moreover, the urban headcount ratio, the welfare of those not connected with politicians, increases by 22 percent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0825.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0825

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References

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  1. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Lupin Rahman & Vijayendra Rao, 2004. "The Politics of Public Good Provision: Evidence from Indian Local Governments," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 416-426, 04/05.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Corrupt politicians
    by René Böheim in Econ Tidbits on 2013-01-15 12:53:00
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Cited by:
  1. Dutta, Bhaskar & Gupta, Poonam, 2012. "How Indian Voters Respond to Candidates with Criminal Charges: Evidence from the 2009 Lok Sabha Elections," Working Papers, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy 12/109, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
  2. Dutta, Bhaskar & Gupta, Poonam, 2012. "How Do Indian Voters Respond to Candidates with Criminal Charges : Evidence from the 2009 Lok Sabha Elections," MPRA Paper 38417, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Aidt, T. & Golden, M. A. & Tiwari, D., 2011. "Incumbents and Criminals in the Indian National Legislature," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1157, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

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