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International development experts share their ideas on how wealthy countries can promote prosperity in developing countries. Follow at

Mar 13, 2012

In the summer of 2008, the Congress-led government of India released five members of Parliament from jail to support the government in fending off a close no-confidence vote. The five politicians – all indicted for or convicted of murder – cleaned up, cast their votes, and returned to jail the next day.

The preponderance of suspected criminals among Indian politicians is no secret. In a country where one-of-four members of Parliament is under criminal indictment, anecdotes such as this are not uncommon. My guest on this week’s Wonkcast, CGD post-doctoral fellow Milan Vaishnav, was inspired by this story to study criminality among Indian politicians for his forthcoming Ph.D. dissertation. He reached some surprising conclusions.

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