Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India
This paper investigates whether the religious identity of state legislators in India influences development outcomes, both for citizens of their religious group and for the population as a whole. To allow for politician identity to be correlated with constituency level voter preferences or characteristics that make religion salient, we use quasi-random variation in legislator identity generated by close elections between Muslim and non-Muslim candidates. We find that increasing the political representation of Muslims improves health and education outcomes in the district from which the legislator is elected. We find no evidence of religious favoritism: Muslim children do not benefit more from Muslim political representation than children from other religious groups.
We are grateful to seminar participants at the ASSA meetings (especially our discussant Ugo Troiano), the NBER Conference on the Economics of Religion and Culture and Oxford University for helpful suggestions. We thank Peter Gerrish, Guillaume Pierre, Maya Shivakumar and Paradigm Data Services for excellent research assistance, and Bradford City Council for sharing software used to decode religion from name. This research was funded by Harvard Business School and the International Growth Centre. Irma Clots-Figueras gratefully acknowledges financial support from SEJ2007-67436 and ECO2011-29762. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Bhalotra, Sonia & Clots-Figueras, Irma & Cassan, Guilhem & Iyer, Lakshmi, 2014. "Religion, politician identity and development outcomes: Evidence from India," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 4-17. citation courtesy of
Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India, Sonia Bhalotra, Irma Clots-Figueras, Guilhem Cassan, Lakshmi Iyer. in Economics of Religion and Culture, Hungerman and Chen. 2014