Journal of Development Economics

Professor Agüero Publishes in the Journal of Development Economics

Professor Jorge Agüero has published “The value of redistribution: Natural resources and the formation of human capital under weak institutions”  in the Journal of Development Economics.

The paper is coauthored with Carlos Felipe Balcázar, Stanislao Maldonado and Hugo Ñopo.

Abstract: We exploit time and spatial variation generated by the commodities boom to measure the effect of natural resources on human capital formation in Peru, a country with low governance indicators. Combining test scores from over two million students and district-level administrative data of mining taxes redistributed to local governments, we find sizable effects on student learning from the redistribution. However, and consistent with recent political economy models, the relationship is non-monotonic. Based on these models, we identify improvements in school expenditure and infrastructure, together with increases in health outcomes of adults and children, as key mechanisms explaining the effect we find for redistribution. Policy implications for the avoidance of the natural resource curse are discussed.

The paper may be found online at:

Professor Prakash to be Published in the Journal of Development Economics

Professor Nishith Prakash’s paper “Do criminally accused politicians affect economic outcomes? Evidence from India” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Development Economics


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).