Co-authored with Toke Aidt and Devesh Tiwari
Utilizing data on self-reported criminal charges lodged against candidates to the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Lok Sabha, India's lower house of representatives, in this paper we study the patterns of criminal candidate selection in 2004 and 2009 by India's political parties. Indian political parties are more likely to select candidates charged with criminal wrongdoing when confronting greater electoral uncertainty and in parliamentary constituencies whose populations exhibit lower levels of literacy. We model these findings formally to interpret them and we discuss the mechanisms that might underlie the patterns we uncover.
Recently discussed in The Economist, in The Wall Street Journal (India Edition), and on the BBC India.