Rubén Poblete-Cazenave

I am a PhD candidate in Economics at University College London.

My research interests are in Applied Microeconomics, Political Economy and Development Economics.

I am a Job Market candidate and will be available for interviews at:

  • 2019 EEA meeting in Rotterdam,
  • 2020 ASSA meeting in San Diego.

Crime and Punishment: Do politicians in power receive special treatment in courts? Evidence from India (Job market paper)

An independent and impartial judicial system is essential for a well-functioning democracy and the economy. Despite constitutional guarantees, in practice, elected politicians may substantially influence the legal system. This paper studies whether politicians in power receive special treatment in courts when facing criminal accusations. I construct a unique panel of criminal cases for candidates for state Legislative Assemblies in India. I compare the probability of a pending criminal case being closed without conviction at the end of a legislature for politicians who barely won the election against those who barely lost it. This paper uncovers opposite effects of winning office, depending on the political alignment with the state ruling party. Winners from the state ruling party are more likely to get their pending criminal cases closed without conviction during their period in office. In contrast, winners from other parties are less likely to get their pending criminal cases closed without conviction during the same time-frame. The result can be rationalized by the (mis)use of certain attributions vested on the Executive power over law officials with career concerns.