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Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India

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  • Sonia R. Bhalotra
  • Guilhem Cassan
  • Irma Clots-Figueras
  • Lakshmi Iyer

Abstract

This paper investigates whether the religious identity of state legislators in India influences development outcomes, both for citizens of their religious group and for the population as a whole. To allow for politician identity to be correlated with constituency level voter preferences or characteristics that make religion salient, we use quasi-random variation in legislator identity generated by close elections between Muslim and non-Muslim candidates. We find that increasing the political representation of Muslims improves health and education outcomes in the district from which the legislator is elected. We find no evidence of religious favoritism: Muslim children do not benefit more from Muslim political representation than children from other religious groups.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19173.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Publication status: published as Bhalotra, Sonia & Clots-Figueras, Irma & Cassan, Guilhem & Iyer, Lakshmi, 2014. "Religion, politician identity and development outcomes: Evidence from India," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 4-17.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19173

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  1. Sonia Bhalotra & Irma Clots-Figueras, 2011. "Health and the Political Agency of Women," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 11/280, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  2. Irma Clots-Figueras, 2005. "Women in politics: evidence from the Indian states," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 19294, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  4. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers, Penn Economics Department ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  5. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Women as policy makers: Evidence from a randomized policy experiment in india," Framed Field Experiments 00224, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  7. Mani, Anandi & Iyer, Lakshmi & Mishra, Prachi & Topalova, Petia, 2011. "The Power of Political Voice: Women's Political Representation and Crime in India," CAGE Online Working Paper Series, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) 63, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  8. Ebonya L. Washington, 2008. "Female Socialization: How Daughters Affect Their Legislator Fathers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 311-32, March.
  9. Anirban Mitra & Debraj Ray, 2013. "Implications of an Economic Theory of Conflict: Hindu-Muslim Violence in India," NBER Working Papers 19090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Irma Clots-Figueras, 2012. "Are Female Leaders Good for Education? Evidence from India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 212-44, January.
  11. Rohini Pande, 2003. "Can Mandated Political Representation Increase Policy Influence for Disadvantaged Minorities? Theory and Evidence from India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1132-1151, September.
  12. Kumar Das, Pranab & Kar, Saibal & Kayal, Madhumanti, 2011. "Religious Minorities and Provision of Public Goods: Evidence from Rural West Bengal," IZA Discussion Papers 6154, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Bhalotra, Sonia & Valente, Christine & van Soest, Arthur, 2010. "The puzzle of Muslim advantage in child survival in India," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 191-204, March.
  14. Erik Meyersson, 2014. "Islamic Rule and the Empowerment of the Poor and Pious," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 229-269, 01.
  15. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2008. "Do Parties Matter for Economic Outcomes? A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 6(5), pages 1037-1056, 09.
  16. Henderson, J. Vernon & Kuncoro, Ari, 2011. "Corruption and local democratization in Indonesia: The role of Islamic parties," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 164-180, March.
  17. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect Or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859, August.
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