Electoral Cycles in Crime in a Developing Country: Evidence from the Indian States
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
June 18, 2006
Using annual data on the major Indian states, I investigate whether the timing of elections affect the crime rate or not. Consistent with the idea that an incumbent politician might exert greater effort in an election year to improve the law and order situation, I find that scheduled elections are associated with a fall in crime. Both property crimes and violent crimes decline in an election year, with the fall in property crimes being statistically significant. Using an instrumental electoral cycle I also find that both categories of crime are responsive to the proximity to an election year - going up in the initial years of an incumbent's tenure, and declining in the later periods, as elections draw nearer. These results suggest that elections can generate crime cycles in a developing country, and also point towards the need for greater transparency and accountability in political governance.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: Political cycles, Elections, Crime
JEL Classification: D72, H76, C23
Date posted: June 20, 2006