Crime and Punishment: Do Politicians in Power Receive Special Treatment in Courts? Evidence from India

44 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2020 Last revised: 12 Mar 2021

See all articles by Rubén Poblete-Cazenave

Rubén Poblete-Cazenave

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE); Tinbergen Institute

Date Written: January 15, 2020

Abstract

Are elected politicians treated more leniently when facing criminal charges? I present evidence of judicial discretion for the largest democracy in the world, India. Using a regression discontinuity design, I compare the probability of a pending criminal case being closed without conviction at the end of a legislature for politicians who marginally won the election against those who marginally lost it. I find that winning office increases the chances that a pending cases is closed without a conviction only for politicians from the state ruling party. Evidence suggests that threats and misuse of attributions vested on the executive power to affect law-and-order officials' career are among the main underlying explanations.

Keywords: Political power, judiciary independence, discrimination, corruption, criminal justice

JEL Classification: P16, D72, D73, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Poblete-Cazenave, Rubén, Crime and Punishment: Do Politicians in Power Receive Special Treatment in Courts? Evidence from India (January 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3698918 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3698918

Rubén Poblete-Cazenave (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

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