Rent-Seeking and Criminal Politicians: Evidence from Mining Booms

54 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2016 Last revised: 29 Apr 2019

See all articles by Sam Asher

Sam Asher

World Bank Development Research Group (DECRG)

Paul Novosad

Dartmouth College

Date Written: April 1, 2018

Abstract

We study how natural resource rents affect the selection and behavior of holders of public office. Using global price shocks to thirty-one minerals and nationwide geological and political data from India, we show that local mineral rent shocks cause the election of criminal politicians. We also find a moral hazard effect: politicians commit more crimes and accumulate greater wealth when mineral prices rise during their term in office. These politicians have direct influence over mining operations but no access to fiscal windfalls from mining; we thus isolate the direct political impacts of mining sector operations.

JEL Classification: O13, D72, P16, Q33

Suggested Citation

Asher, Sam and Novosad, Paul, Rent-Seeking and Criminal Politicians: Evidence from Mining Booms (April 1, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2812315 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2812315

Sam Asher

World Bank Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://samuelasher.com

Paul Novosad (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College ( email )

Department of Sociology
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

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