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Corruption and companies: The case of facilitating payments

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  • Argandoña, Antonio

    ()
    (IESE Business School)

Abstract

Facilitating payments are a very widespread form of corruption. They consist of small payments or gifts made to a person -a public official or an employee of a private company- to obtain a favor, such as expediting an administrative process, obtaining a permit, license or service, or avoiding an abuse of power. Unlike the worst forms of corruption, facilitating payments do not usually involve an outright injustice on the part of the payer, as she is entitled to what she requests. That may be why public opinion tends to condone them; often they are assumed to be unavoidable and are excused on the grounds of low wages and lack of professionalism among public officials and disorganization in government offices. Many companies that take the fight against "grand" corruption very seriously are inclined to overlook these "petty" transgressions, which are seen as the "grease" that makes the wheels of the bureaucratic machine turn more smoothly. And yet, facilitating payments have a pernicious effect on the working of public and private administrations; all too often they are the slippery slope to more serious forms of corruption; they impose additional costs on companies and citizens; and in the long run they sap the ethical foundations of organizations. This article focuses on facilitating payments from the point of view of the company that makes the payment, either as the active partner (when it is the company that takes the initiative) or as the passive partner (when the official or employee is the instigator).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IESE Business School in its series IESE Research Papers with number D/539.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 15 Jan 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ebg:iesewp:d-0539

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Postal: IESE Business School, Av Pearson 21, 08034 Barcelona, SPAIN
Web page: http://www.iese.edu/
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Related research

Keywords: bribery; corruption; extortion; facilitating payments; gifts;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

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  1. Rauch, James E & Evans, Peter B., 1999. "Bureaucratic Structure and Bureaucratic Performance in Less Developed Countries," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt0sb0w38d, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  2. Philip R. Lane & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Voracity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 22-46, March.
  3. Sheetal K. Chand & Karl Ove Moene, 1997. "Controlling Fiscal Corruption," IMF Working Papers 97/100, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1994. "The Politics of Market Socialism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 165-176, Spring.
  5. Vito Tanzi, 1998. "Corruption Around the World: Causes, Consequences, Scope, and Cures," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(4), pages 559-594, December.
  6. Nadeem Ul Haque & Ratna Sahay, 1996. "Do Government Wage Cuts Close Budget Deficits? Costs of Corruption," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 43(4), pages 754-778, December.
  7. International Monetary Fund, 1997. "Corruption and the Rate of Temptation - Do Low Wages in the Civil Service Cause Corruption?," IMF Working Papers 97/73, International Monetary Fund.
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Cited by:
  1. Xun Wu, 2009. "Determinants of Bribery in Asian Firms: Evidence from the World Business Environment Survey," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 75-88, June.

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