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Do Criminals Politicians Reduce Corruption? Evidence from India

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  • Matthieu Chemin

Abstract

This paper relates unique data on criminal records of local politicians in India to corruption, crime and poverty. Using a regression discontinuity design, whereby individuals living in districts where a criminal politician barely won are compared to individuals living in districts where a criminal politician barely lost, this paper shows that criminal politicians reduce bribe-taking behavior of law and order officials by 34 percent. One possible explanation for this result is that when interests of politicians and those of interest groups converge, criminal politicians' control over bureaucrats acts as a substitute for bribes from these interest groups. This is not to say that criminal politicians should be elected to eradicate corruption, but rather that corruption is underestimated if only measured by bribe-taking without taking into account political control: as less bribes need to be paid, criminal offences, similar to those mostly committed by criminal politicians, increase by 25 percent. Moreover, the urban headcount ratio, the welfare of those not connected with politicians, increases by 22 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthieu Chemin, 2008. "Do Criminals Politicians Reduce Corruption? Evidence from India," Cahiers de recherche 0825, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0825
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    File URL: http://www.cirpee.org/fileadmin/documents/Cahiers_2008/CIRPEE08-25.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Corrupt politicians
      by René Böheim in Econ Tidbits on 2013-01-15 18:53:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Aidt, T. & Golden, M. A. & Tiwari, D., 2011. "Incumbents and Criminals in the Indian National Legislature," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1157, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Dutta, Bhaskar & Gupta, Poonam, 2012. "How Do Indian Voters Respond to Candidates with Criminal Charges : Evidence from the 2009 Lok Sabha Elections," MPRA Paper 38417, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Dutta, Bhaskar & Gupta, Poonam, 2012. "How Indian Voters Respond to Candidates with Criminal Charges: Evidence from the 2009 Lok Sabha Elections," Working Papers 12/109, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mother's labour supply; preschool and primary school children; childcare policy; treatment effects; natural experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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