We study the impact of electing criminally accused politicians to state legislative assemblies on constituency-level measure of economic activity in India. Using data on the criminal back ground of candidates running for state assembly elections and a constituency-level measure of economic activity proxied by intensity of night lights, we employ a regression discontinuity design that controls for unobserved heterogeneity across constituencies and and a 24-percentage points lower economic activity arising from the election of a criminally accused politician. These effects are driven by serious, financial and multiple criminal charges and are concentrated in less developed and more corrupt Indian states. Similar findings emerge for the provision of public goods using data on India's major rural roads construction program.
Prakash, N.; Rockmore, M.; Uppal, Y. Do Criminally Accused Politicians Affect Economic Outcomes? Evidence from India. International Growth Centre (IGC), London, UK (2015) 60 pp.