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How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru

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  • McMillan, John
  • Zoido, Paolo

Abstract

Which of the democratic checks and balances – opposition parties, the judiciary, a free press – is the most critical? Peru has the full set of democratic institutions. In the 1990s, the secret-police chief Montesinos systematically undermined them all with bribes. We quantify the checks using the bribe prices. Montesinos paid television-channel owners about 100 times what he paid judges and politicians. One single television channel’s bribe was four times larger than the total of the opposition politicians’ bribes. By revealed preference, the strongest check on the government’s power was the news media.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4361.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4361

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Keywords: bribery; checks and balances; corruption; democracy; institutions; media; peru;

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References

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  1. Simeon Djankov & Caralee McLiesh & Tatiana Nenova & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "Who Owns the Media?," NBER Working Papers 8288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eric Maskin, 2003. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000076, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Cristian Pop-Eleches & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Judicial Checks and Balances," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 445-470, April.
  4. Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2005. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 07, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Intra-firm Bargaining under Non-binding Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 375-410, July.
  6. AlÌcia Adserý, 2003. "Are You Being Served? Political Accountability and Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 445-490, October.
  7. Lambsdorff, Johann Graf, 2002. "Making corrupt deals: contracting in the shadow of the law," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 221-241, July.
  8. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, . "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," Working Papers 100, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  9. Brunetti, Aymo & Weder, Beatrice, 2003. "A free press is bad news for corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1801-1824, August.
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  1. Libertad de Prensa y Democracia - Por Sebastian Galiani
    by Luciano Cohan (Elemaco) in Economista Serial Crónico on 2010-08-23 10:00:00
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