A talk by political economist, Dr. Milan Vaishnav on his new book When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics, the first thorough study of the co-existence of crime and democratic processes in Indian politics.
In India, the world’s largest democracy, the symbiotic relationship between crime and politics raises complex questions. For instance, how can free and fair democratic processes exist alongside rampant criminality? Why do political parties recruit candidates with reputations for wrongdoing? Why are one-third of state and national legislators elected—and often re-elected—in spite of criminal charges pending against them? In this eye-opening study, political scientist Milan Vaishnav mines a rich array of sources, including fieldwork on political campaigns and interviews with candidates, party workers, and voters, large surveys, and an original database on politicians’ backgrounds to offer the first comprehensive study of an issue that has implications for the study of democracy both within and beyond India’s borders. More on the book
Milan Vaishnav is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. His primary research focus is the political economy of India. He was previously a fellow at the Center for Global Development and has taught at Columbia, George Washington, and Georgetown Universities. He received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University. Read more about Dr. Vaishnav