Religion, politician identity and development outcomes: Evidence from India

Sonia Bhalotra, Irma Clots-Figueras, Guilhem Cassan, Lakshmi Iyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper investigates whether the religious identity of state legislators in India influences development outcomes, both for citizens of their religious group and for the population as a whole. Using an instrumental variables approach derived from a regression discontinuity, we find that increasing the political representation of Muslims improves health and education outcomes in the district from which the legislator is elected. We find no evidence of religious favoritism: Muslim children do not benefit more from Muslim political representation than children from other religious groups.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Oct 2013


  • India
  • Infant mortality
  • Muslim
  • Politician identity
  • Primary education
  • Religion

Cite this