Religious riots and electoral politics in India

Iyer, Sriya and Shrivastava, Anand (2018) Religious riots and electoral politics in India. Journal of Development Economics, 131. pp. 104-122. ISSN 0304-3878

[img] Text - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (796kB) | Request a copy


We study the effect of Hindu-Muslim riots on election results in India. We combine data on geo-coded riots with data on state elections and on demographics and public goods provision to construct a unique panel data set for 16 large states in India from 1981 to 2001. A new instrument is used that draws upon the random variation in the day of the week that Hindu festivals fall on, as set by a lunar calendar. The probability of a riot increases if a Hindu festival falls on a Friday, the holy day for Muslims. This allows us to isolate the causal effect of riots on electoral results. The results are also corrected for under-reporting of riots and their effect on nearby districts. We find that riots occurring in the year preceding an election increase the vote share of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party by at least 5 percentage points.

Item Type: Article
Authors: Iyer, Sriya and Shrivastava, Anand
Uncontrolled Keywords: Religion, Political economy, Riots, Elections, India
Subjects: Social sciences > Sociology & anthropology > Groups of people
Social sciences > Groups of people

Social sciences > Political Science > The political process
Divisions: Azim Premji University > School of Arts and Sciences
Full Text Status: Restricted
Related URLs:
Publisher URL:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item