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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. Erik Meyersson, 2014. "Islamic Rule and the Empowerment of the Poor and Pious," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 229-269, 01.
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  4. Clots-Figueras, Irma, 2007. "Are female leaders good for education? : Evidence from India," UC3M Working papers. Economics we077342, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
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  7. Bhalotra, Sonia & Clots-Figueras, Irma, 2013. "Health and the Political Agency of Women," Economics Discussion Papers 9006, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
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  18. Anirban Mitra & Debraj Ray, 2013. "Implications of an Economic Theory of Conflict: Hindu-Muslim Violence in India," NBER Working Papers 19090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859.
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