Financial disclosure and political selection: Evidence from India

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Date and Time: 
Monday, November 5, 2018
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Speaker: 
Ray Fisman
Boston University
Abstract: 

We study the effect of financial disclosure on the selection of politicians, exploiting the staggering of Indian state assembly elections to identify the effect of disclosure laws. We document a 13 percentage point increase in exit of incumbents post-disclosure, indicating that disclosure has a large effect on politician self-selection.  This selection coincides with higher probability of winning for remaining incumbents, relative to a set of counterfactual candidates, suggesting that voters interpreted the selection as positive. These effects are concentrated in states with elections occurring post-demonetization, reinforcing the interpretation of our findings as stemming from concerns of wealth disclosure.