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Title: The Indian Crime-Politics Nexus: Who Is Paying the Price?
Authors: Dayoub, Diana
Advisors: Mody, Ashoka
Department: Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
Certificate Program: Center for Statistics and Machine Learning
Class Year: 2021
Abstract: This thesis investigates the correlation between electing criminally accused members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) in India and the provision of public goods and healthiness of key economic outcomes, such as employment and consumption per capita. Using data from the Indian Population Census for the period 1991-2011 aggregated at the district, subdistrict, and village levels respectively, I show that average annual light density is positively correlated with the levels of public goods, such as school counts and access to power, both in the panel and the cross-section at different levels of geographic resolution. I argue this robust correlation stipulates that light density is a good proxy for these public goods. Given the causal negative relationship proven by Prakash et al. between an MLA’s criminal status and the growth of light density in the constituency, it is possible that such a relationship extends to public goods as well given the robustness of the public-good-light correlation. I then use data from the Population and Economic Censuses aggregated at the legislative constituency level to show that electing a criminally accused MLA is negatively correlated with several measures of public goods, employment and consumption per capita, after controlling for year and district fixed effects. Finally, I use a regression discontinuity design to detect a reduction in employment in the services sector by 12% after a criminally accused politician comes to power in the state assembly. My findings seek to emphasize the significantly negative consequences of electing criminally accused MLAs and the pathways through which it undermines the amelioration of living standards and access to public goods in rural India.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 1929-2021

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