Change in Subjective Well-Being, Affluence and Trust in Politicians

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Paper Abstract: 
Using nationally-representative household panel data in the India Human Development Surveys for 2005-6 and 2011-12, we examine the causal relationship between trust in politicians and the change in SWB between 2005 and 2012 where the politicians comprise Members of State Legislative Assemblies, Members of Parliament and other political aspirants. Our analysis is unique as it takes account of the loss of public trust in politicians due to the scourge of criminality among the elected members. More specifically, we test (i) whether criminality among the politicians influences trust in them, and (ii) whether the trust in politicians influences perceived well-being, drawing upon instrumental variable (IV) and Lewbel IV estimators. We discuss the policy challenges in mitigating this scourge and enhancing perceived well-being in light of a recent surge in the share of criminal politicians.