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Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes:Evidence from India

  • Sonia Bhalotra


    (University of Bristol)

  • Guilhem Cassan


    (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur)

  • Irma Clots-Figueras


    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

  • Lakshmi Iyer


    (Harvard Business School)

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 control for politician identity to be correlated with constituency level voter preferences or characteristics that make religion salient, we use quasi-random variation in legislator identity generated by close elections between Muslim and non-Muslim candidates. We find that increasing the political representation of Muslims improves health and education outcomes in the district from which the legislator is elected. We find no evidence of religious favoritism: Muslim children do not benefit more from Muslim political representation than children from other religious groups.

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Paper provided by University of Namur, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1306.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nam:wpaper:1306
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  1. Sonia Bhalotra & Irma Clots-Figueras, 2013. "Health and the Political Agency of Women," Economics Discussion Papers 739, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Lakshmi Iyer & Anandi Mani & Prachi Mishra & Petia Topalova, 2011. "The Power of Political Voice: Women's Political Representation and Crime in India," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-092, Harvard Business School, revised Aug 2011.
  5. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  6. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Valente, Christine & van Soest, Arthur, 2009. "The Puzzle of Muslim Advantage in Child Survival in India," IZA Discussion Papers 4009, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Vijayendra Rao, 2007. "Just Rewards?Local Politics and Public ResourceAllocation in South India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 49, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  10. 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).
  11. Clots-Figueras, Irma, 2011. "Women in politics: Evidence from the Indian States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 664-690, August.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Irma Clots-Figueras, 2007. "Are female leaders good for education? : Evidence from India," Economics Working Papers we077342, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  15. Erik Meyersson, 2014. "Islamic Rule and the Empowerment of the Poor and Pious," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 229-269, 01.
  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, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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