Do Criminal Representatives Hinder or Improve Constituency Outcomes? Evidence from India

63 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2014

See all articles by Nishith Prakash

Nishith Prakash

University of Connecticut; Institute for the Study of Labor

Marc Rockmore

Clark University - Department of Economics

Yogesh Uppal

Youngstown State University

Abstract

The recent increase in the number of criminally accused politicians elected to state assemblies has caused much furor in India. Despite the potentially important consequences and the widely divergent views, the implications of their elections to state legislative assemblies on constituency-level economic performance are unknown. Using a regression discontinuity design and data on the intensity of night lights in satellite imagery at the constituency level, our results suggest that the cost of electing criminally accused politicians on measures of economic activity is quite large. Using estimates of the elasticity of GDP to light, we find that the election of criminally accused candidates lead to roughly 5 percent lower GDP growth per year on average. These estimated costs increase for candidates with serious accusations, multiple accusations, and accusations regarding financial crimes. Our result survives variety of robustness checks.

Keywords: growth, Indian politicians, information disclosure, regression discontinuity, India

JEL Classification: D72, D73, O40, O12

Suggested Citation

Prakash, Nishith and Rockmore, Marc and Uppal, Yogesh, Do Criminal Representatives Hinder or Improve Constituency Outcomes? Evidence from India. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8452, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2502312

Nishith Prakash (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut ( email )

365 Fairfield Way, U-1063
Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/nishithprakash1978/

Institute for the Study of Labor ( email )

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

Marc Rockmore

Clark University - Department of Economics ( email )

950 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01610
United States

Yogesh Uppal

Youngstown State University ( email )

Youngstown, OH 44555
United States

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