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Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India

  • Sonia Bhalotra
  • Irma Clots-Figueras
  • Guilhem Cassan
  • Lackshmi Iyer


This paper investigates whether the religious identity of state legislators in India influences development outcomes, both for citizens of their religious group and for the population as a whole. To allow politician identity to be correlated with constituency level voter preferences or events that make religion salient, we use quasi-random variation in legislator identity generated by close elections between Muslim and non-Muslim candidates. We find no evidence of religious favoritism: Muslim children do not benefit more from Muslim political representation than children from other religious groups. However increasing the political representation of Muslims improves health and education outcomes in the district from which the legislator is elected.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 13/309.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:13/309
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  1. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  2. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect Or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859, August.
  3. Rohini Pande, 2003. "Can Mandated Political Representation Increase Policy Influence for Disadvantaged Minorities? Theory and Evidence from India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1132-1151, September.
  4. Lakshmi Iyer & Anandi Mani & Prachi Mishra & Petia Topalova, 2012. "The Power of Political Voice: Women's Political Representation and Crime in India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 165-93, October.
  5. Anirban Mitra & Debraj Ray, 2014. "Implications of an Economic Theory of Conflict: Hindu-Muslim Violence in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(4), pages 719 - 765.
  6. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2008. "Do Parties Matter for Economic Outcomes? A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(5), pages 1037-1056, 09.
  7. Bhalotra, S. & Valente, C. & van Soest, A.H.O., 2009. "The Puzzle of Muslim Advantage in Child Survival in India," Discussion Paper 2009-13, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1409-1443, 09.
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  10. Sonia Bhalotra & Irma Clots-Figueras, 2013. "Health and the Political Agency of Women," Economics Discussion Papers 739, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  11. Erik Meyersson, 2014. "Islamic Rule and the Empowerment of the Poor and Pious," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 229-269, 01.
  12. Kumar Das, Pranab & Kar, Saibal & Kayal, Madhumanti, 2011. "Religious Minorities and Provision of Public Goods: Evidence from Rural West Bengal," IZA Discussion Papers 6154, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Ebonya L. Washington, 2008. "Female Socialization: How Daughters Affect Their Legislator Fathers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 311-32, March.
  14. Irma Clots-Figueras, 2005. "Women in politics: evidence from the Indian states," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19294, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  15. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  16. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule to Estimate the Effect of Class Size on Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575.
  17. Henderson, J. Vernon & Kuncoro, Ari, 2011. "Corruption and local democratization in Indonesia: The role of Islamic parties," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 164-180, March.
  18. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Vijayendra Rao, 2007. "Just rewards? Local politics and public resource allocation in South India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3763, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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