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Optimal Government Regulations and Red Tape in an Economy with Corruption

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  • Fabio Mendez
  • Facundo Sepulveda

Abstract

We study an economy where agents are heterogeneous in entrepreneurial ability, and may decide to become workers or entrepreneurs. The government is motivated by a production externality to impose regulations on entrepreneurship, and sets a level of red tape -administered by public officials-to test regulation compliance. In an environment where some officials are corrupt, we study what are the optimal levels of regulations and red tape, and to what extent such policies reduce the welfare losses created by corruption. For each level of externalities, we find that high and low levels of corruption create qualitatively different distortions, which in turn changes the nature and reach of optimal policies. Under low levels of corruption and externalities, the government sets low levels of regulations and minimal red tape, and with these policies achieves the first best allocation. When externalities and corruption are above a threshold, only a second best allocation can be achieved. Moreover, when externalities are large, mandating higher levels of red tape is a Pareto improving policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 515.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:515

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Keywords: Corruption; optimal policy; red tape; regulations.;

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  1. Jennifer Hunt & Sonia Laszlo, 2005. "Bribery: Who Pays, Who Refuses, What Are The Payoffs?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp792, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  2. 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.
  3. Acemoglu, D. & Verdier, T., 1996. "Property Rights, Corruption and the Allocation of Talent: A General Equilibrium Approach," DELTA Working Papers 96-12, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  4. Hellman, Joel S. & Jones, Geraint & Kaufmann, daniel, 2000. ""Seize the state, seize the day": state capture, corruption, and influence in transition," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2444, The World Bank.
  5. Guriev, Sergei, 2004. "Red tape and corruption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 489-504, April.
  6. Cadot, Olivier, 1987. "Corruption as a gamble," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 223-244, July.
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