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How Petty is Petty Corruption? Evidence from Firm Surveys in Africa

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  • Clarke, George R.G.

Abstract

Summary Evidence suggests that corruption is costly for African firms. This paper, however, shows that a minor difference in the way the question on bribe payments is asked has a large effect on estimates of the size of the burden. On average, firms report payments that are between 4 and 15 times higher when they report them as a percent of sales than when they report them in monetary terms. The paper discusses several possible reasons for this, but none explain the difference. One plausible remaining reason is that firm managers overestimate bribes when they report them in percentage terms.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
Issue (Month): 7 (July)
Pages: 1122-1132

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Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:7:p:1122-1132

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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Keywords: Africa Tanzania corruption firm surveys investment climate;

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References

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  1. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio LopezdeSilanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2000. "The Regulation of Entry," NBER Working Papers 7892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jakob Svensson, 2003. "Who Must Pay Bribes And How Much? Evidence From A Cross Section Of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 207-230, February.
  3. Gonzalez, Alvaro & Ernesto Lopez-Cordova, J. & E. Valladares, Elio, 2007. "The incidence of graft on developing-country firms," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4394, The World Bank.
  4. Clarke, George R.G. & Cull, Robert & Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad, 2006. "Foreign bank participation and access to credit across firms in developing countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 774-795, December.
  5. Recanatini, Francesca & Wallsten, Scott J. & Lixin Colin Xu, 2000. "Surveying surveys and questioning questions - learning from World Bank experience," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2307, The World Bank.
  6. Omar Azfar & Peter Murrell, 2005. "Identifying Reticent Respondents: Assessing the Quality of Survey Data on Corruption and Values," Electronic Working Papers 05-001, University of Maryland, Department of Economics.
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  8. Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Eight Questions about Corruption," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 19-42, Summer.
  9. Clarke, George R. G. & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2004. "Privatization, competition, and corruption: how characteristics of bribe takers and payers affect bribes to utilities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2067-2097, August.
  10. A'Hearn, Brian & Baten, Jörg & Crayen, Dorothee, 2009. "Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(03), pages 783-808, September.
  11. Jensen, Nathan M. & Li, Quan & Rahman, Aminur, 2007. "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter : understanding corruption using cross-national firm-level surveys," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4413, The World Bank.
  12. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
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  14. Heckman, James J & Macurdy, Thomas E, 1980. "A Life Cycle Model of Female Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 47-74, January.
  15. Safavian, Mehnaz S. & Graham, Douglas H. & Gonzalez-Vega, Claudio, 2001. "Corruption and Microenterprises in Russia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1215-1224, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Clarke George R, 2011. "Are Managers' Perceptions of Constraints to Growth Reliable? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in South Africa," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-28, August.
  2. Clara Delavallade, 2011. "What Drives Corruption? Evidence from North African Firms," SALDRU Working Papers 68, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  3. Şeker, Murat & Yang, Judy S., 2014. "Bribery solicitations and firm performance in the Latin America and Caribbean region," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 246-264.

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