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Crime, Incentives and Political Effort: A Model and Empirical Application for India

Author

Listed:
  • Kai Gehring

    (University of Heidelberg)

  • T. Florian Kauffeldt

    (University of Heidelberg)

  • Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati

    (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Abstract

The large share of politicians facing criminal accusations in India has sparked a public debate and an emerging literature that assesses its causes and effects. We develop a model of the incentives faced by members of parliament when deciding whether to engage in effort for their constituency to assess the effect of their having a criminal background on their decision. We use direct and clearly identifiable measures of effort in the 14 Lok Sabha over the 2004-2009 legislative period: attendance rates, parliamentary activity, and utilization rates of a local area development scheme. The findings suggest that criminal MPs exhibit on average about 5% lower attendance rates and lower utilization rates, but no difference in parliamentary activity. The results depend on the development level of the constituency, a proxy for rent-seeking possibilities and monitoring intensity, as well as on the measurement of criminal background. We use selection on observables, matching techniques, and treatment effect regressions to demonstrate why these negative relations should constitute an upper bound estimate for the causal effect of criminality and to show they are unlikely to be driven by selection on unobservabels.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:170
    as

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    File URL: http://www2.vwl.wiso.uni-goettingen.de/courant-papers/CRC-PEG_DP_170_2.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Gehring, Kai & Kauffeldt, T. Florian & Vadlamannati, Krishna Chaitanya, 2019. "Crime, incentives and political effort: Evidence from India," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 1-20.
    2. Borooah, Vani, 2014. "Anatomy of Indian Parliamentary Elections," MPRA Paper 76613, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke, 2019. "Conservative Politicians and Voting on Same‐sex Marriage," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 20(4), pages 600-617, November.
    4. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke & Marina Riem, 2017. "Do Parties Punish MPs for Voting Against the Party Line?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 63(3), pages 317-332.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    India; Elections; Crime; Good and bad politicians; Development; Attendance and activity in parliament; Political economy;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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