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Fixing Market Failures or Fixing Elections? Agricultural Credit in India

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  • Shawn Cole

Abstract

This paper integrates theories of political budget cycles with theories of tactical electoral redistribution to test for political capture in a novel way. Studying banks in India, I find that government-owned bank lending tracks the electoral cycle, with agricultural credit increasing by 5-10 percentage points in an election year. There is significant cross-sectional targeting, with large increases in districts in which the election is particularly close. This targeting does not occur in nonelection years or in private bank lending. I show capture is costly: elections affect loan repayment, and election-year credit booms do not measurably affect agricultural output. (JEL D72, O13, O17, Q14, Q18)

Suggested Citation

  • Shawn Cole, 2009. "Fixing Market Failures or Fixing Elections? Agricultural Credit in India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 219-250, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:1:p:219-50
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.1.219
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • Q14 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Finance
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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