We study the causal impact of electing criminally accused politicians to state legislative assemblies in India on the subsequent economic performance of their constituencies. Using data on the criminal background of candidates running in state assembly elections for the period 2004–2008 and a constituency-level measure of economic activity proxied by the intensity of night-time lights, we employ a regression discontinuity design and find that narrowly electing a criminally accused politician lowers the growth of the intensity of night-time lights by about 24 percentage points (approximately 2.4 percentage point lower GDP growth). The negative impact is more pronounced for legislators who are accused of serious or financial charges, have multiple accusations, are from a non-ruling party, have less than a college education, or have below median wealth. Overall, we find that the effect appears to be concentrated in the less developed and the more corrupt states. Similar findings emerge for the provision of public goods using data on India’s major rural roads construction program.
“Earlier politicians used criminals. Now the criminals themselves have entered politics”– (Associated Press, 2014).
Professor Nishith Prakash has received an appointment as a fellow with the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at Harvard Kennedy School.
The Women and Public Policy Program of Harvard Kennedy School closes gender gaps in economic opportunity, political participation, health and education by creating knowledge, training leaders, and informing public policy and organizational practices.
Our research provides evidence-based insights on the role of gender in shaping economic, political, and social opportunities available to individuals. We identify successful interventions and measure their impact on women, men, and society, then share recommendations on what policies, organizational practices, and leadership techniques help close involuntary gaps.
We train today’s leaders and prepare future leaders to create a more gender equal world, while providing women with skills and tools to successfully navigate existing systems. We draw on Harvard University’s unparalleled faculty expertise and its global reach to impact the thinking of those who make decisions across sectors.
No other organization in the world builds on behavioral insights to create evidence-based organizational designs that can promote women’s empowerment, overcome gender bias, and provide equal opportunities for women and men, like the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School. And no other entity provides assistance to organizations with the goal of consulting, learning and teaching at the same time, benefiting from the talent pool of Harvard faculty, students and fellows.
The mission ofThe World Bank Economic Reviewis to encourage and support research in the field of development economics. We seek to publish and disseminate innovative theoretical and empirical research that identifies, analyzes, measures, and evaluates the macro and micro-economic forces that promote or impede economic development with a view towards providing the knowledge necessary for designing, implementing, and sustaining effective development policies in low and middle income countries. Our intended audience comprises a worldwide readership of economists and other social scientists in government, business, international agencies, universities, and research institutions.
The Economics Department Early College Experience Program held its annual workshop for teachers on November 1 at the Storrs Campus. The workshop was attended by 25 teachers from high schools across the state who hold the positions of instructor and preceptor of economics responsible for teaching high school students Principles of Microeconomics (Economics 1201), Principles of Macroeconomics (Economics 1202) and Essentials of Economics (Economics 1000) in their high school.
The teachers who attended, learned from a program they inspired by suggesting topics in the spring of 2018. Highlights of this year’s program included Professor Nishith Prakash presenting his work entitled “Gender, Crime and Punishment”, which provided a peek at original economics research. The teachers were excited by this work and raised numerous questions.
Professor Prakash’s paper was followed by a presentation by Professor Natalia Smirnova (a UConn Economics Ph.D.) entitled “Oligarchs and Ivans: A Changing Russian Economy 1990-2020” in which Professor Smirnova provided both background and predictions for the modern Russian Economy including a look forward.
Professor Oskar R. Harmon, who is doing research and teaching about sports economics, presented an exciting session entitled “Sports Economics and Principals of Economics” over lunch. Professor Harmon was followed on the program by Mr. Paul Conant explaining the Kyoto Treaty to the teachers in a session titled “Kyoto and Beyond.”
ECE Economics Coordinator and Emeritus Professor of Economics Bill Alpert capped off the day with his discussion “Income Distribution: What’s the Matter?”
After continuing discussion the workshop was adjourned.
Professor Prakash’s recent work on crime against women and all women police stations in India has been in the news. Most recently, Indian Express, a leading newspaper in India, interviewed him to discuss the economic effects of violence against women in a podcast prepared for United Nation, India.
He also presented his latest work (joint with Sofia Amaral (ifo Institute) and Sonia Bhalotra (Essex)) “Gender, Crime and Punishment: Evidence from Women Police Stations in India” at the Urban Economics Association Conference at Columbia University and the North East Universities Development Consortium Conference at Cornell University in October, 2018. In this paper, the authors find that the presence of All Women Police Stations in India leads to more reporting of violence against women crime, in particular, female kidnappings and domestic violence. The study finds modest impact on the measures of police deterrence such as arrests.
Professor Nishith Prakash presented his paper “Do Criminally Accused Politicians Affect Economic Outcomes? Evidence from India” at the 6th NCID Research Workshop in Madrid, and at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.
Professor Prakash was interviewed at the 6th NCID Research Workshop about his work:
Professor Nishith Prakash and his co-author Professor Kumar (Sam Houston State University) have had their paper titled “Effect of political decentralization and female leadership on institutional births and child mortality in Bihar” accepted for publication at Social Science & Medicine.
In this paper, they investigate the impacts of political decentralization and women reservation in rural local governance on institutional births and child mortality in the state of Bihar in India. Using difference-in-differences methodology, they find a significant positive association between political decentralization and institutional births. They also find that the increased participation of women at local governance led to increased survival rate of children belonging to richer households. They argue that their results are consistent with female leaders having policy preference for women and child well-being.
This project was funded by International Growth Center at London School of Economics (http://www.theigc.org).
Professor Minkler and Professor Prakash’s paper titled “The Role of Constitutions on Poverty: A Cross-National Investigation” has been accepted by the Journal of Comparative Economics. In this paper, they construct and use a new historical data set on economics and social rights from the constitutions of 195 countries and an instrument variable strategy to answer two important questions.
First, do economic and social rights provisions in constitutions reduce poverty, measured as headcount income and health outcomes? Second, does the strength of constitutional language of the economic and social rights matter? Constitutional provisions can be framed either more weakly as directive principles or more strongly as enforceable law.
The results suggest three findings. First, they do not find an association between constitutional rights generally framed and poverty. Second, they do not find an association between economic and social rights framed as directive principles and poverty. Third, they do find a strong negative association between economic and social rights framed as enforceable law and poverty when we use legal origins as our IV. These results persist for indices of constitutional rights and also when they restrict the sample to non-OECD countries. The policy implication is that constitutional provisions framed as enforceable law provide effective meta-rules with incentives for policymakers to initiate, fund, monitor and enforce poverty reduction policies.