"The Private Returns to Public Office"
Publication type: Working paper
We study the wealth accumulation of Indian state politicians using public disclosures required of all candidates. The annual asset growth of winners is 3–5 percentage points higher than runners-up. By performing a within-constituency comparison for very close elections, we rule out a range of alternative explanations for the winners premium. The asset growth of winners is significantly higher in more corrupt states, bolstering the view that the winner's premium is the result of rent-seeking. For ministers, the winner's premium is 10 percentage points higher than for non-minister winners, suggesting that opportunities for rent-seeking increase with progression through the political hierarchy.
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