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SEMINAR | MAY 1, 2017
India’s Democratic Marketplace for Criminality

It is more useful to view the relative success of criminal politicians in India as a byproduct of democratic practice, rather than its authoritarian antithesis.

HINDUSTAN TIMES | MARCH 30, 2017
Finance Bill Makes Funding For Political Parties More Opaque Than Ever

There is a dramatic mismatch between what ails political finance in India and the government’s “reform” measures. The budget presentation and its new amendments have made political funding less transparent.

NDTV | MARCH 23, 2017
Adityanath, No Stranger To Criminal Cases, Promises Safer UP

While Indians should be heartened by any decline in the level of political criminality, there are good reasons to treat this data with caution, especially in the case of Uttar Pradesh.

YALE BOOKS UNBOUND | FEBRUARY 16, 2017
Criminal Politics on the World Stage

While there is still a lot of uncertainty in terms of how the elections in Uttar Pradesh will unfold, it is clear that criminal politicians will remain on the prowl.

CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT | FEBRUARY 2, 2017
Podcast: Milan Vaishnav on Corruption in Indian Politics

In India, the world’s largest democracy, as many as a third of elected politicians are under criminal indictment. Carnegie Senior Fellow Milan Vaishnav discusses his groundbreaking new book, When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics, which takes readers deep into the marketplace for criminal politicians. Drawing on fieldwork from the campaign trail, large surveys, and unprecedented data on politicians’ criminal records, Vaishnav discusses his findings on the inner-workings of democracy’s underbelly, and how his work might illuminate the current U.S. political climate.

QUARTZ | FEBRUARY 1, 2017
Crafty Indian Politicians Can Game the New Political Funding Rules Even in Their Sleep

While the reforms to political finance announced as part of the India’s 2017 Budget are a step in the right direction, they will do little to change the reality of non-transparent political funding.

INDIAN EXPRESS | JANUARY 6, 2017
Purify the Parties

Prime Minister Modi has pitched demonetization as a fight against corruption in India. But to truly free politics from black money, the government must take concrete steps to reform political finance.

DIPLOMAT | JANUARY 4, 2017
A Familiar Story: Donald Trump and India’s Criminal Politicians

In India, distrust of government and social cleavages encourage voters to support those who bend the rules to defend their communities. Similar conditions in the United States contributed to Trump’s election.

DEMOCRACY AUDIT UK (BLOG) | DECEMBER 13, 2016
Why Do Voters Back Corrupt and Dishonest Politicians?

Rather than being uninformed, voters in India strategically elect politicians who are tied to criminal activity.

FT ALPHAVILLE (BLOG) | NOVEMBER 28, 2016
Why India’s Demonetization Alone Won’t End Dirty Money in Politics

Demonetization alone is not enough to end dirty money in Indian politics. Modi must also close legal loopholes, tie tax breaks to political parties with transparency, and directly attack the underlying drivers of the black economy.

GOVERNANCE | OCTOBER 1, 2016
Why Voters Sometimes Prefer Criminals as Candidates

In democracies around the world, candidates who stand accused or convicted of criminal misconduct routinely win elections and assume important positions. How can crime and democratic politics coexist?

CHECKBOOK ELECTIONS? POLITICAL FINANCE IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE (PIPPA NORRIS & ANDREA ABEL VAN ES, EDS.) | OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS | JUNE 2016
India (with E. Sridharan)

This chapter outlines the evolution of India’s political finance regime over the past several decades, with a focus on the key developments that have shaped the system as it currently exists.

Policy brief here

INDIA POLICY FORUM | SEPTEMBER 1, 2015
Corruption in India: Bridging Research Evidence and Policy Options (with Sandip Sukhtankar)

The most important thing for combating corruption is not the law on paper but the implementation of the law; the binding constraint, as always, is the government’s desire and ability to punish corrupt officials and politicians.

Op-ed version here

NEW YORK TIMES | MAY 9, 2014
India’s Price of Victory

The deluge of money in India’s political system is shaping more than just the nature of competition; it’s also having an effect on who gains entry into politics in the first place, as parties rely more on candidates who can pay their own way.

CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT | JANUARY 24, 2014
Crime but No Punishment in Indian Elections

In India, politicians with criminal records are supplying what voters and parties demand: candidates who are effective and well-funded.

WORKING PAPER (UNDER REVIEW)
Builders, Politicians, and Election Finance (with Devesh Kapur) (under review)
(Online Appendix here)

A new measure of construction activity reveals evidence that builders in India use their assets to help politicians circumvent election finance laws.

Op-ed version here

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