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Who Must Pay Bribes And How Much? Evidence From A Cross Section Of Firms

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  • Jakob Svensson

Abstract

This paper uses a unique data set on corruption containing quantitative information on bribe payments of Ugandan firms. The data have two striking features: not all firms report that they need to pay bribes, and there is considerable variation in reported graft across firms facing similar institutions/policies. We propose an explanation for these patterns, based on differences in control rights and bargaining strength across firms. Consistent with the control rights/bargaining hypotheses, we find that the incidence of corruption can be explained by the variation in policies/regulations across industries. How much must bribe-paying firms pay? Combining the quantitative data on corruption with detailed financial information from the surveyed firms, we show that firms' "ability to pay" and firms' "refusal power" can explain a large part of the variation in bribes across graft-reporting firms. These results suggest that public officials act as price (bribe) discriminators, and that prices of public services are partly determined in order to extract bribes. © 2001 the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 118 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 207-230

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:1:p:207-230

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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  1. Simon Johnson & Daniel Kaufmann & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2003. "Why Do Firms Hide? Bribes and Unofficial Activity after Communism," Public Economics 0308004, EconWPA.
  2. Brian Erard & Jonathan S. Feinstein, 1994. "Honesty and Evasion in the Tax Compliance Game," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 1-19, Spring.
  3. Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 1999. "Confronting competition - investment response and constraints in Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2242, The World Bank.
  4. Griliches, Zvi, 1986. "Economic data issues," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 25, pages 1465-1514 Elsevier.
  5. Shang-Jin Wei, 1997. "How Taxing is Corruption on International Investors?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 63, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  6. Paul Collier & Jan Willem Gunning, 1999. "Why Has Africa Grown Slowly?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
  7. Ades, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael, 1997. "National Champions and Corruption: Some Unpleasant Interventionist Arithmetic," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1023-42, July.
  8. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  9. Friedman, Eric & Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2000. "Dodging the grabbing hand: the determinants of unofficial activity in 69 countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 459-493, June.
  10. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
  11. Bliss, Christopher & Di Tella, Rafael, 1997. "Does Competition Kill Corruption?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 1001-23, October.
  12. Tollison, Robert D, 1982. "Rent Seeking: A Survey," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 575-602.
  13. Bhagwati, Jagdish N, 1982. "Directly Unproductive, Profit-seeking (DUP) Activities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 988-1002, October.
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