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The Private Returns to Public Office


  • Raymond Fisman
  • Florian Schulz
  • Vikrant Vig


We study the wealth accumulation of Indian state politicians using public disclosures required of all candidates. The annual asset growth of winners is 3-5 percent higher than that of runners-up, a difference that holds also in a set of close elections. The relative asset growth of winners is greater in more corrupt states and for those holding ministerial positions. These results are consistent with a rent-seeking explanation for the relatively high rate of growth in winners' assets.

Suggested Citation

  • Raymond Fisman & Florian Schulz & Vikrant Vig, 2014. "The Private Returns to Public Office," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(4), pages 806-862.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/676334

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
    2. Serguey Braguinsky & Sergey Mityakov & Andrey Liscovich, 2014. "Direct Estimation of Hidden Earnings: Evidence from Russian Administrative Data," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(2), pages 281-319.
    3. Kotakorpi, Kaisa & Poutvaara, Panu, 2011. "Pay for politicians and candidate selection: An empirical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 877-885, August.
    4. Raymond Fisman & Nikolaj A. Harmon & Emir Kamenica & Inger Munk, 2015. "Labor Supply Of Politicians," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(5), pages 871-905, October.
    5. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8769.
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    1. repec:ces:ifodic:v:13:y:2015:i:3:p:19173857 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kaisa Kotakorpi & Panu Poutvaara & Marko Tervio, 2013. "Returns to office in national and local politics," Discussion Papers 86, Aboa Centre for Economics.
    3. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-01349350 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Eric Avis & Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2016. "Do Government Audits Reduce Corruption? Estimating the Impacts of Exposing Corrupt Politicians," Textos para discussão 652, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    5. Mark A. Zupan, 2015. "Rent-Seeking on the Supply Side of Politics," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(3), pages 06-14, October.
    6. Björn Kauder & Manuela Krause & Niklas Potrafke, 2016. "Electoral Cycles in MPs' Salaries: Evidence from the German States," CESifo Working Paper Series 6028, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Duha T. Altindag & Naci Mocan, 2015. "Mobile Politicians: Opportunistic Career Moves and Moral Hazard," NBER Working Papers 21438, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Kai Gehring & T. Florian Kauffeldt & Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati, 2015. "Crime, Incentives and Political Effort: A Model and Empirical Application for India," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 170, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    9. Federico Quaresima & Fabio Fiorillo, 2017. "The patronage effect: a theoretical perspective of patronage and political selection," Working papers 63, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.
    10. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Clement Imbert & Santhosh Mathew & Rohini Pande, 2016. "E-governance, Accountability, and Leakage in Public Programs: Experimental Evidence from a Financial Management Reform in India," NBER Working Papers 22803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Ahmed Tahoun & Florin P. Vasvari, 2016. "Political Lending," Working Papers Series 47, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    12. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther & Imbert, Clement & Mathew, Santosh & Pande, Rohini, 2016. "E-Governance, Accountability, and Leakage in Public Programs: Experimental Evidence from a Financial Management Reform in India," Working Paper Series rwp16-056, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

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