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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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  1. 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.
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  8. Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1993. "Honesty and Evasion in the Tax Compliance Game," Carleton Economic Papers 93-06, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 1994.
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  10. 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.
  11. 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.
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