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Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India

  • Sonia R. Bhalotra
  • Guilhem Cassan
  • Irma Clots-Figueras
  • Lakshmi 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 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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19173.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Publication status: published as Bhalotra, Sonia & Clots-Figueras, Irma & Cassan, Guilhem & Iyer, Lakshmi, 2014. "Religion, politician identity and development outcomes: Evidence from India," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 4-17.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19173
Note: CH DEV POL
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  1. 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.
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  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
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  18. Irma Clots-Figueras, 2007. "Are female leaders good for education? : Evidence from India," Economics Working Papers we077342, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
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