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Research Seminar Series - Crime and Money: Determinants of Elections

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START DATE 07 November 2018

Middlesex University Dubai, Oasis Theatre

END DATE 07 November 2018

We are pleased to invite you to Wednesday Research Seminar. It will be held on November 7th  from 4pm, at Middlesex University Dubai in the Oasis Theatre, Block 16, Knowledge Park. The Wednesday Research Seminar Series was launched in 2008, and has featured more than 230 presentations to date. The seminars provide a forum for researchers to share their work. Presenters include faculty from Middlesex University Dubai and other universities in the United Arab Emirates, as well as researchers from other global institutions. Prof Ajit Karnik will deliver seminar on:

Crime and Money: Determinants of Elections

Ajit Karnik, Mala Lalvani and Manali Pathak


The influence of money and wealth in elections has been observed for a long time. Henry George noted in 1883 that “only a rich man, or a man who expects to make money illegitimately out of the position, can afford to run for office”. Crime and criminals have become deeply entrenched in elections in many countries of the world. This is true, not only in developing and emerging countries, but also in some of the more developed democracies of the world. I will be presenting some preliminary results from a study that my co-authors and I have just begun. We look at the influence of wealth and crime in the assembly elections of three Indian states. Our data covers two assembly elections in each of the states, yielding a dataset of more than 20,000 observations. Two kinds of models are estimated: one, a regular Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression model with vote-share of each candidate as the dependent variable; two, a logistic regression model with a binary variable (winner/loser) as the dependent variable. Apart from wealth and crime, we also use data on education levels and gender of the candidates. Our initial results show that both crime and wealth help improve vote-share as well as the chances of winning an election. Rather hearteningly, so does education. The influence of gender is weak and not uniform across states.


Ajit Karnik is a Professor of Economics at Middlesex University Dubai. He has been Reserve Bank of India Professor of Political Economy and Director, Department of Economics, University of Mumbai. He has had visiting appointments at (1) University of Texas at Austin; (2) St. John’s College, University of Cambridge; (3) University of California at Berkeley; and (4) Wolfson College and Faculty of Economics and Politics, University of Cambridge. He has supervised 11 Ph.D. theses, 5 M.Phil dissertations, over 70 MBA dissertations, 25 MA in Marketing Communications dissertations and 4 M.Sc. in Banking and Finance dissertations. Ajit Karnik’s research specializations comprise political economy, fiscal economics, economic growth and econometrics. He has published 40 papers in refereed journals, 12 papers in edited books, 90 other papers (including conference and working papers). He has also authored 3 books and edited 6 books/Special issues. He has undertaken consultancy for Government of Maharashtra (India), United Nations Development Programme, World Bank, Unilever India and KPMG. He has been referee for numerous journals such as Public Budgeting and Finance, International Review of Applied Economics, Economics and Politics, Journal of Sports Economics and Journal of Federalism.

Mala Lalvani is currently Director, Mumbai School of Economic and Public Policy, University of Mumbai and RBI Professor of Political Economy. Her research interests are in Public Economics and Political Economy. She has published 35 research papers in refereed journals.

Manali Pathak is Research Associate at the Mumbai School of Economic and Public Policy, University of Mumbai.

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