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Instability and Incentives for Corruption

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  • Davin Chor

    (SMU)

  • Do Quoc-Anh
  • Filipe R Campante

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between corruption and political stability, from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. We propose a model of incumbent behavior that features the interplay of two effects : A horizon effect, whereby greater instability leads the incumbent to embezzle more during his short window of opportunity; and a demand effect, by which the private sector is more willing to bribe stable incumbents. The horizon effect dominates at low levels of stability, since firms are unwilling to pay high bribes and unstable incumbents have strong incentives to embezzle, whereas the demand effect gains salience in more stable regimes. Together, these two effects generate a nonmonotonic, U-shaped relationship between total corruption and stability. On the empirical side, we find a robust U-shaped pattern between country indices of corruption perception and various measures of incumbent stability, including historically-observed average tenures of chief executives and governing parties : Regimes that are very stable or very unstable display higher levels of corruption when compared to those in an intermediate range of stability. These results suggest that minimizing corruption may require an electoral system that features some reelection incentives, but with an eventual term limit.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Macroeconomics Working Papers with number 22070.

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Date of creation: Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:eab:macroe:22070

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Related research

Keywords: corruption; Political Stability; Incumbent Tenure; Term Limits;

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References

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  1. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Sule Ozler & Nouriel Roubini & Phillip Swagel, 1992. "Political Instability and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 4173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Finan, Frederico & Ferraz, Claudio, 2005. "Reelection Incentives and Political Corruption: Evidence from Brazilian Audit Reports," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19544, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  4. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  5. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
  6. Angeletos, George-Marios & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Corruption, Inequality, and Fairness," Scholarly Articles 4553006, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
  8. De Long, J. Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei, 1993. "Princes and Merchants: European City Growth before the Industrial Revolution," Scholarly Articles 3451302, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. M Arellano & O Bover, 1990. "Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 4553018, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Keefer, Philip, 2000. "Power and Prosperity: Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships. By Mancur Olson. New York: Basic Books, 2000. Pp. xxvii, 233. $28.00," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(03), pages 919-921, September.
  12. Fredriksson, Per G. & Svensson, Jakob, 2003. "Political instability, corruption and policy formation: the case of environmental policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1383-1405, August.
  13. Beck, T.H.L. & Clarke, G. & Groff, A. & Keefer , P. & Walsh, P., 2001. "New tools in comparative political economy: The database of political institutions," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125517, Tilburg University.
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Cited by:
  1. Chamon, Marcos & M. P. De Mello, João & Firpo, Sergio Pinheiro, 2010. "Electoral rules, political competition and fiscal spending: regression discontinuity evidence from brazilian municipalities," Textos para discussão 208, Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  2. Quoc-Anh Do & Filipe R. Campante, 2009. "Keeping Dictators Honest: the Role of Population Concentration," Working Papers 01-2009, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  3. Coviello, Decio & Gagliarducci, Stefano, 2010. "Building Political Collusion: Evidence from Procurement Auctions," IZA Discussion Papers 4939, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Chamon, Marcos & de Mello, João M. P. & Firpo, Sergio, 2009. "Electoral Rules, Political Competition and Fiscal Expenditures: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Brazilian Municipalities," IZA Discussion Papers 4658, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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