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The Choice between Market Failures and Corruption

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  • Acemoglu, D.
  • Verdier, T.

Abstract

Because government intervention transfers resources from one party to another, it creates room for corruption. As corruption often undermines the purpose of the intervention, governments will try to prevent it. They may create rents for bureaucrats, induce a misallocation of resources, and increase the size of the bureaucracy. Since preventing all corruption is excessively costly, second-best intervention may involve a certain fraction of bureaucrats accepting bribes. When corruption is harder to prevent, there may be both more bureaucrats and higher public-sector wages. Also, the optimal degree of government intervention may be nonmonotonic in the level of income.

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Paper provided by DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure) in its series DELTA Working Papers with number 97-06.

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Date of creation: 1997
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Publication status: Published in American Economic Review, March 2000, vol. 90, no. 1, pp. 194-211
Handle: RePEc:del:abcdef:97-06

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  1. Calvo, Guillermo A & Wellisz, Stanislaw, 1979. "Hierarchy, Ability, and Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 991-1010, October.
  2. Deepak Lal, 1993. "Poverty and Development," UCLA Economics Working Papers 707, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, I P L, 1992. "Monitoring vis-a-vis Investigation in Enforcement of Law," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 556-65, June.
  4. Acemoglu, D. & Verdier, T., 1996. "Property Rights, Corruption and the Allocation of Talent: A General Equilibrium Approach," Working papers 96-5, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Besley, Timothy & McLaren, John, 1993. "Taxes and Bribery: The Role of Wage Incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 119-41, January.
  6. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1289-1332, November.
  8. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  9. R. Hirschowitz, 1989. "The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 57(4), pages 266-272, December.
  10. Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
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