Corruption, accountability, and decentralization: theory and evidence from Mexico
AbstractOne of the fundamental tenets of fiscal federalism is that, absent various sorts of externalities, decentralized governments that rely on own-source revenues should be more fiscally efficient than decentralized governments that rely on grant financing. The argument relies in part on the idea that sub-national governments, being closer to the people, are more accountable to its citizens. Accountability to citizens is also important in understanding the presence of corruption in government. This suggests that the financial structure and institutions of decentralized governments can potentially influence the degree and extent of corrupt activity. Financial structures that make governments more accountable should be associated with less corruption (other things equal), while financial structures with less accountability should be associated with more corrupt activities. We develop a simple model in which the use of grants rather than locally raised taxes increases corruption. We then use a panel data set of Mexican states to study the relationship between funding sources for Mexican states and the level of corruption in those states. We find that greater use of own tax revenues lowers corruption while greater use of grants increases corruption. This suggests that expenditure decentralization that is accompanied by revenue decentralization is likely to discourage corruption while expenditure decentralization that is funded by grants tends to encourage corruption. We also find that poverty, a measure of uninformed citizens, leads to greater corruption.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2011/32.
Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Corruption; decentralization; accountability; taxes; grants; federalism;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
- E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
- H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2006.
"Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 720-736, June.
- Besley, Timothy J. & Prat, Andrea, 2002. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," CEPR Discussion Papers 3132, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- 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.
- Besley, Timothy & Smart, Michael, 2007.
"Fiscal restraints and voter welfare,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 755-773, April.
- Timothy Besley & Michael Smart, 2005. "Fiscal restraints and voter welfare," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3769, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Timothy Besley & Michael Smart, 2005. "Fiscal Restraints and Voter Welfare," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 06, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
- Jonathan A. Rodden & Gunnar S. Eskeland (ed.), 2003. "Fiscal Decentralization and the Challenge of Hard Budget Constraints," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262182297, December.
- David E. Wildasin, 2001.
"Externalities and Bailouts: Hard and Soft Budget Constraints in Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations,"
- Wildasin, David E., 1997. "Externalities and bailouts : hard and soft budget constraints in intergovernmental fiscal relations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1843, The World Bank.
- Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
- Goodspeed, T-J & White, A-D, 1996. "International taxation," Papers 96-11, Wellesley College - Department of Economics.
- Fan, C. Simon & Lin, Chen & Treisman, Daniel, 2009. "Political decentralization and corruption: Evidence from around the world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 14-34, February.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.