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Political And Judicial Checks On Corruption: Evidence From American State Governments

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  • JAMES E. ALT
  • DAVID D. LASSEN

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of checks and balances on corruption. Within a presidential system, effective separation of powers is achieved under a divided government, with the executive and legislative branches being controlled by different political parties. When government is unified, no effective separation exists even within a presidential system, but, we argue, can be partially restored by having an accountable judiciary. Our empirical findings show that a divided government and elected, rather than appointed, state supreme court judges are associated with lower corruption and, furthermore, that the effect of an accountable judiciary is stronger under a unified government, where the government cannot control itself. Copyright 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd..

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-0343.2007.00319.x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Economics & Politics.

Volume (Year): 20 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 33-61

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:20:y:2008:i:1:p:33-61

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Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0954-1985

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References

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  1. Stephen Coate & Timothy Besley, 2000. "Elected versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido & Trebbi, Francesco, 2001. "Electoral Rules and Corruption," CEPR Discussion Papers 2741, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Rafael Di Tella & Raymond Fisman, 2002. "Are Politicians Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," NBER Working Papers 9165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Raven Saks, 2004. "Corruption in America," NBER Working Papers 10821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 2001. "Incentives and Political Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199248681.
  6. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  7. Edward L. Glaeser & Claudia Goldin, 2004. "Corruption and Reform: An Introduction," NBER Working Papers 10775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Edward L. Glaeser & Raven Saks, 2004. "Corruption in America," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2043, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. James E. Alt & David Dreyer Lassen, 2010. "Enforcement and Public Corruption: Evidence from US States," EPRU Working Paper Series 2010-08, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  2. Elena Costas & Albert Sole-Olle & Pilar Sorribas-Navarro, 2011. "Corruption scandals, press reporting, and accountability. Evidence from Spanish mayors," Working Papers in Economics 255, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  3. Noel Johnson & Courtney LaFountain & Steven Yamarik, 2011. "Corruption is bad for growth (even in the United States)," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 147(3), pages 377-393, June.
  4. Akee, Randall K. Q. & Jorgensen, Miriam & Sunde, Uwe, 2012. "Constitutions and Economic Development: Evidence from the American Indian Nations," IZA Discussion Papers 6754, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Goel, Rajeev K. & Nelson, Michael A., 2013. "Effectiveness of whistleblower laws in combating corruption," BOFIT Discussion Papers 9/2013, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
  6. Adriana Cordis, 2009. "Judicial checks on corruption in the United States," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 375-401, November.
  7. Brown, David S. & Touchton, Michael & Whitford, Andrew, 2011. "Political Polarization as a Constraint on Corruption: A Cross-national Comparison," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1516-1529, September.
  8. Costas-Pérez, Elena & Solé-Ollé, Albert & Sorribas-Navarro, Pilar, 2012. "Corruption scandals, voter information, and accountability," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 469-484.
  9. Noel Johnson & William Ruger & Jason Sorens & Steven Yamarik, 2014. "Corruption, regulation, and growth: an empirical study of the United States," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 51-69, February.
  10. Rajeev Goel & Michael Nelson, 2011. "Measures of corruption and determinants of US corruption," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 155-176, June.
  11. Bernardo Mueller & Lee Alston & Carlos Pereira & Marcus Melo, 2008. "The Choices Governors Make: The Roles of Checks and Balances and Political Competition," Anais do XXXVI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 36th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 200807181549410, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

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