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Crime, Incentives and Political Effort: A Model and Empirical Application for India

64 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2016  

Kai Gehring

University of Zurich - Chair of Political Economy; University of Heidelberg

T. Florian Kauffeldt

Heidelberg University

Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamanati

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 1, 2015

Abstract

The large share of politicians facing criminal accusations in India has sparked a public debate and an emerging literature that assesses its causes and effects. We develop a model of the incentives faced by members of parliament when deciding whether to engage in effort for their constituency to assess the effect of their having a criminal background on their decision. We use direct and clearly identifiable measures of effort in the 14 Lok Sabha over the 2004-2009 legislative period: attendance rates, parliamentary activity, and utilization rates of a local area development scheme. The findings suggest that criminal MPs exhibit on average about 5% lower attendance rates and lower utilization rates, but no difference in parliamentary activity. The results depend on the development level of the constituency, a proxy for rent-seeking possibilities and monitoring intensity, as well as on the measurement of criminal background. We use selection on observables, matching techniques, and treatment effect regressions to demonstrate why these negative relations should constitute an upper bound estimate for the causal effect of criminality and to show they are unlikely to be driven by selection on unobservabels.

Keywords: India, Elections, Crime, Good and bad politicians, Development, Attendance and activity in parliament, Political economy

JEL Classification: D72, H11, I38

Suggested Citation

Gehring, Kai and Kauffeldt, T. Florian and Vadlamanati, Krishna Chaitanya, Crime, Incentives and Political Effort: A Model and Empirical Application for India (March 1, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2736768 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2736768

Kai Gehring (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Chair of Political Economy ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland
+4917620916056 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.kai-gehring.net

University of Heidelberg ( email )

Grabengasse 1
Heidelberg, 69117
Germany

T. Florian Kauffeldt

Heidelberg University ( email )

Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamanati

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) ( email )

Trondheim NO-7491
Norway

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