CGD in the News

Study on Poll Funds Says Cement Sales Linked to Elections (Indian Express)

August 04, 2011

Non-resident fellow Devesh Kapur and visiting fellow Milan Vaishnav's study on builders and campaign election finance was featured in an article in The Indian Express.

From the Article

Cement consumption in India is related to the electoral cycle. There is a significant drop in cement purchase during the four-week campaign period prior to election day, especially in the case of Assembly elections, with the biggest dip in Andhra Pradesh and the smallest in Delhi. This slowdown speaks of an off-the-books builder-politician quid pro quo.

These are the provocative findings of a new study that turns the spotlight on one channel of the opaque and understudied field of illicit campaign finance. In a yet-to-be-published paper, titled ‘Quid Pro Quo: Builders, Politicians and Election Finance In India’, Devesh Kapur, who teaches political science at the University of Pennsylvania, and Milan Vaishnav of Columbia University track the black money flows in the construction and real estate sector.

The authors attempt to empirically describe and quantify the under-the-table compact between politicians and builders. The quid pro quo goes like this: Politicians park their illicit assets with builders because “they require a place to invest these assets where they can avoid public scrutiny while earning a decent return”. Builders rely on politicians for discretionary policy favours.

Read it Here.