Do Educated Leaders Affect Economic Development? Evidence from India
Chandan Jain (),
Shagun Kashyap (),
Rahul Lahoti () and
Soham Sahoo ()
Additional contact information
Chandan Jain: International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)
Shagun Kashyap: Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
Rahul Lahoti: UNU-WIDER
No 15278, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)
Although formal education is often considered an indicator of political leaders' quality, the evidence on the effectiveness of educated leaders is mixed. Besides, minimum education qualifications are increasingly being used as requirements for contesting elections, making it critical to understand the role of politicians' education in their performance. We investigate the impact of electing an educated politician on economic development in the politician's constituency in India. We use constituency-level panel data on the intensity of night-time lights to measure economic activity. Our identification strategy is based on a regression discontinuity design that exploits quasi-random outcomes of close elections between educated and less-educated politicians. We find that narrowly electing a graduate leader, as compared to a non-graduate leader, in the state assembly constituency increases the growth rate of night-time lights by about 3 percentage points in the constituency. As pathways, we find that graduate leaders improve the provision of roads, electricity, and power; however, they do not significantly impact the overall provision of public goods. In comparison with findings from other studies in the literature, our result suggests that the impact of formal education of the leader is weaker than the leader's other characteristics, such as gender or criminality.
Keywords: educated political leaders; night-time lights; close elections; public goods; India (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 H11 H41 O40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 71 pages
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:iza:izadps:dp15278
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Holger Hinte ().