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Building connections: Political corruption and road construction in India

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  • Lehne, Jonathan
  • Shapiro, Jacob N.
  • Vanden Eynde, Oliver

Abstract

Politically-driven corruption is a pervasive challenge for development, but evidence of its welfare effects are scarce. Using data from a major rural road construction programme in India we document political influence in a setting where politicians have no official role in contracting decisions. Exploiting close elections to identify the causal effect of coming to power, we show that the share of contractors whose name matches that of the winning politician increases by 83% (from 4% to 7%) in the term after a close election compared to the term before. Regression discontinuity estimates at the road level show that political interference raises the cost of road construction and increases the likelihood that roads go missing.

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  • Lehne, Jonathan & Shapiro, Jacob N. & Vanden Eynde, Oliver, 2018. "Building connections: Political corruption and road construction in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 62-78.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:131:y:2018:i:c:p:62-78
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2017.10.009
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    4. Das, Upasak & Maiorano, Diego, 2019. "Post-clientelistic initiatives in a patronage democracy: The distributive politics of India’s MGNREGA," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 239-252.
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    7. Shreya Biswas & Upasak Das, 2021. "Adding fuel to human capital: Exploring the educational effects of cooking fuel choice from rural India," Papers 2106.01815, arXiv.org.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corruption; Political connections; Public procurement; Kinship networks;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure

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