Selecting the Best of Us? Politician Quality in Village Councils in West Bengal, India

64 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2020

See all articles by Ananish Chaudhuri

Ananish Chaudhuri

University of Auckland Business School

Vegard Iversen

University of Manchester

Francesca R. Jensenius

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Pushkar Maitra

Monash University - Department of Economics

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

Who gets elected to political office? The negative selection hypothesis posits that the inherently dishonest run for office, expecting to earn political rent. Alternatively, the positive selection hypothesis suggests that individuals join politics to make a difference. Developing country politicians are frequently stereotyped as embodiments of the negative selection hypothesis. Using survey and experimental data covering village councils in rural West Bengal, we find that inexperienced village council politicians are less dishonest and more pro-social than ordinary citizens. Our findings also suggest that this idealism wears off with time.

Keywords: selection into politics, politician quality, corruption, experiments, behavioural games

JEL Classification: C930, O120, O530, Z180

Suggested Citation

Chaudhuri, Ananish and Iversen, Vegard and Jensenius, Francesca R. and Maitra, Pushkar, Selecting the Best of Us? Politician Quality in Village Councils in West Bengal, India (2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3707937 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3707937

Ananish Chaudhuri (Contact Author)

University of Auckland Business School ( email )

12 Grafton Rd
Private Bag 92019
Auckland, 1010
New Zealand

Vegard Iversen

University of Manchester ( email )

Francesca R. Jensenius

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Pushkar Maitra

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3
Australia

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