Do politician characteristics affect environmental outcomes in India?

Project Team: Bipasha Maity

Project start: 2022

Focus Areas:

Politicians in their role as elected representatives have the potential of influencing the quality of lives of citizens through their role in policy making. In this context, they can also potentially influence environmental protection/degradation. However, empirical evidence on the role of politicians in influencing environmental outcomes is relatively sparse, particularly in the context of India.

The proposed study aims to understand what kind of elected political representatives can influence environmental outcomes in India. In particular, we aim to assess whether elected politicians’ identity (i.e. gender) and quality (i.e. whether they are “educated” or have a “criminal background”) can have any effect on forest cover gain or loss.

We choose to focus on forest endowments as forests are an important carbon sink and therefore forest cover loss can accelerate global warming, exacerbating the adverse impacts of climate change. .

We seek to understand whether politicians matter for environmental protection and importantly what type of politicians can help preserve forest cover in the context of India.