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Do Criminally Accused Politicians Affect Economic Outcomes? Evidence from India

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  • Nishith Prakash

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Marc Rockmore

    (Clark University)

  • Yogesh Uppal

    (Youngstown State University)

Abstract

We study the causal impact of electing criminally accused politicians to state legislative assemblies in India on the subsequent economic performance of their constituencies. Using data on the criminal background of candidates running for state assembly elections and a constituency-level measure of economic activity proxied by intensity of night-time lights, we employ a regression discontinuity design that controls for unobserved heterogeneity across constituencies and find 22-percentage point lower yearly growth in the intensity of night-time lights arising from the election of a criminally accused politician. These effects are driven by serious, financial and the number of criminal charges and appear to be concentrated in the less developed and more corrupt Indian states. Similar findings emerge for the provision of public goods using data on India’s major rural roads construction program.

Suggested Citation

  • Nishith Prakash & Marc Rockmore & Yogesh Uppal, 2017. "Do Criminally Accused Politicians Affect Economic Outcomes? Evidence from India," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-310, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bos:iedwpr:dp-310
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Criminal Accusations; Politicians; Night-time Lights; Regression Discontinuity; India;
    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
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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