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Political Favoritism by Powerful Politicians: Evidence from Chief Ministers in India

Umair Khalil (), Mandar Oak () and Sundar Ponnusamy ()
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Sundar Ponnusamy: School of Economics, University of Adelaide

No 2020-09, School of Economics Working Papers from University of Adelaide, School of Economics

Abstract: We study whether in single-member-district legislative systems, powerful politicians engage in political favoritism towards their constituents. The focus is on the chief ministers of Indian state governments. Using night light intensity as a measure of economic activity, we find that a constituency represented by a sitting chief minister exhibits about 13 percentage increase in luminosity relative to all other constituencies. The effect comes predominantly from the cases where the chief minister’s constituency lies outside their birth region. Neighboring constituencies, particularly those with strategic political value, also benefit from this windfall, suggesting the mechanism at play is likely to be political expediency rather than in-group favoritism.

Keywords: Distributive Politics; Ethnic Favoritism; Rent-seeking (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 R11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-pol
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