Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India

28 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2013

See all articles by Sonia R. Bhalotra

Sonia R. Bhalotra

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Guilhem Cassan

University of Namur

Irma Clots-Figueras

University of Kent

Lakshmi Iyer

Harvard Business School - Business, Government and the International Economy Unit

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Date Written: July 2013

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Bhalotra, Sonia R. and Cassan, Guilhem and Clots-Figueras, Irma and Iyer, Lakshmi, Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India (July 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19173, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2288502

Sonia R. Bhalotra (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Guilhem Cassan

University of Namur ( email )

No Address Available

Irma Clots-Figueras

University of Kent ( email )

Keynes College
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP
United Kingdom

Lakshmi Iyer

Harvard Business School - Business, Government and the International Economy Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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