What did recent state elections tell us about the crime-politics nexus?

I have a new column for NDTV on the crime-politics nexus in the wake of India’s five recent state assembly elections. While some commentators have been heartened by what appears, at first glance, to be an overall decline in the share of legislators with criminal records, there are good reasons to treat this data with caution.

Here’s a snippet:

One should not extrapolate too much from one data point. The observed decline in Goa and UP might simply suggest a reversion to the mean. In UP, for instance, 35 percent of MLAs were named in criminal cases in 2007, which is roughly the current level. The same is true in Goa, where the share in 2007 is identical to today’s share (23 percent). In both states, 2012 saw a jump in the proportion of MLAs facing cases.

You can read the entire piece here.