Governance

Criminal politicians and informed voting in India

  • Blog Post Date 23 May, 2019
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Yusuf Neggers

University of Michigan

yneggers@umich.edu

In India, 9% of legislators face criminal charges. Could voter information and coordination improve the country’s political representation?

This podcast has been reposted with permission from VoxDev: https://voxdev.org/topic/institutions-political-economy/criminal-politicians-and-informed-voting-india

In the context of the 2017 Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections, a voter information experiment was conducted across more than 3,800 villages in which 450,000 mobile phone subscribers in treatment villages received voice and text messages informing them about the criminal charges of candidates in their constituency. The information was credibly sourced and fairly distributed among candidates. Votes for candidates with severe charges dropped by 8% and votes for candidates with no charges increased by 7%. Government should ensure online access to information on the criminal charges of candidates in elections.

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