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Sweetening the Deal? Political Connections and Sugar Mills in India

  • Sandip Sukhtankar

Political control of firms is prevalent across the world. Evidence suggests that firms profit from political connections, and politicians derive benefit from control over firms. This paper investigates an alternative mechanism through which politicians may benefit electorally from connected firms, examining sugar mills in India. I find evidence of embezzlement in politically controlled mills during election years, reflected in lower prices paid to farmers for cane. This result complements the literature on political cycles by demonstrating how campaign funds are raised rather than used. Politicians may recompense farmers upon getting elected, possibly explaining how they can get away with pilferage. (JEL D72, G34, L66, O13, O17, Q12, Q13)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 43-63

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:3:p:43-63
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.4.3.43
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  1. E. Sridharan, 1999. "Toward state funding of elections in india? a comparative perspective on possible options," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 229-254.
  2. Dinc, I. Serdar, 2005. "Politicians and banks: Political influences on government-owned banks in emerging markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 453-479, August.
  3. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2006. "Robust Inference with Multi-way Clustering," NBER Technical Working Papers 0327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Snyder, James M, 1989. "Election Goals and the Allocation of Campaign Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 637-60, May.
  5. Min Shi & Jakob Svensson, 2003. "Political Budget Cycles: A Review of Recent Developments," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 29, pages 67-76.
  6. Gene Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1994. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," NBER Working Papers 4877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Wright, Gavin, 1974. "The Political Economy of New Deal Spending: An Econometric Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(1), pages 30-38, February.
  8. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
  9. Alberto Alesina & Nouriel Roubini & Gerald D. Cohen, 1997. "Political Cycles and the Macroeconomy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262510944, June.
  10. Thompson, Samuel B., 2011. "Simple formulas for standard errors that cluster by both firm and time," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 1-10, January.
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