NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Private Returns to Public Office

Raymond Fisman, Florian Schulz, Vikrant Vig

NBER Working Paper No. 18095
Issued in May 2012
NBER Program(s):   CF   LE   LS   PE   POL

We study the wealth accumulation of Indian parliamentarians using public disclosures required of all candidates since 2003. Annual asset growth of winners is on average 3 to 6 percentage points higher than runners-up. By performing a within-constituency comparison where both runner-up and winner run in consecutive elections, and by looking at the subsample of very close elections, we rule out a range of alternative explanations for differential earnings of politicians and a relevant control group. The ``winner's premium" comes from parliamentarians holding positions in the Council of Ministers, with asset returns 13 to 29 percentage points higher than non-winners. The benefit of winning is also concentrated among incumbents, because of low asset growth for incumbent non-winners.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18095

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