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Fighting corruption or elections? The politics of anti-corruption policies in India: A subnational study

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  • Vadlamannati, Krishna Chaitanya

Abstract

This paper extends political budget cycles theory to corruption, where an incumbent government considers controlling corruption based purely on political considerations. Using panel data on 30 Indian states during the 1988–2009 period, I investigate whether the timing of elections affects the incumbent government’s efforts to control corruption. Consistent with the idea that an incumbent politician might exert greater effort to control corruption during election years, I find that scheduled elections (as opposed to unscheduled elections) are associated with an increase in the number of corruption cases registered by the respective state’s anti-corruption agencies, although the substantive impact is small. Furthermore, I find this effect in ‘swing states’ where margin of victory for the incumbent in previous elections has been narrow. On the other hand, there is no effect of scheduled elections on corruption cases being investigated by anti-corruption agencies. Thus, the argument that Indian politicians engage in ‘cheap talk’ on controlling corruption, especially during election periods is suggestive at best.

Suggested Citation

  • Vadlamannati, Krishna Chaitanya, 2015. "Fighting corruption or elections? The politics of anti-corruption policies in India: A subnational study," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 1035-1052.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:43:y:2015:i:4:p:1035-1052
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2015.01.002
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    1. repec:eee:poleco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:55-74 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Björn Kauder & Manuela Krause & Niklas Potrafke, 2018. "Electoral cycles in MPs’ salaries: evidence from the German states," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(4), pages 981-1000, August.
    3. Nogare, Chiara Dalle & Kauder, Björn, 2017. "Term limits for mayors and intergovernmental grants: Evidence from Italian cities," Munich Reprints in Economics 49908, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    4. repec:eee:regeco:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Luca J. Uberti, 2016. "Can Institutional Reforms Reduce Corruption? Economic Theory and Patron–Client Politics in Developing Countries," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 47(2), pages 317-345, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corruption; Elections; Institutions; India;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • P37 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Legal

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